Tag Archives: currently

currently

19 Jun

I haven’t done one of these ‘currently’ post for awhile. Actually, I haven’t done any post for awhile. Truth be told, I’ve been busy moving and writing and then moving again. I’m done moving now. So let’s get back to blogging with one of these.

I AM CURRENTLY…

WRITING :: I’m finishing up my YA fantasy, Feed Me To the Wolves. It’s about a young Conchan girl (think gypsy meets viking) with a very big secret. You’re going to have to trust me on this one, but when you live with a clan of people who dedicate their lives to killing the shrev (think monster wolves), being able to communicate with canines is not a good thing. I’m hoping to wrap it up this weekend. I’ll share a teaser when I do.

READING :: The Wrath and the Dawn. So far, it is amazing. I want more books like it. Now.

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LISTENING TO :: Famous guys read famous poems. This is what I do when washing dishes. Here is a goodie:

DRINKING :: Earl Grey each morning, french roast each afternoon. I’m in a rut. A beautiful, happy rut that I don’t care to come out of any time soon.

CONSIDERING :: Options in chicken feed and horse feed. Exciting? Oh yeah.

WANTING :: This fantastic little pillow from Shop Jeen:

11.24.14_0124_cry_here_grandeAnd, that’s all I have in my vat of ‘currently’ to pull from. The next time I post I will most likely be spewing joy and sonnets over completing the first draft of my novel. Sonnets? That may be pushing it. Haikus are more my style.

Until then!

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oh, baby – it’s time to slow down

31 Mar

I had a baby 12 days ago, and today is my husband’s first day back at work. This means several things:

  • I’m wildly in love with a new, little person.
  • My kids are doing significantly less math.
  • My home is a mess.

I’m completely fine with these three things. Look at this face and try and tell me that a sink full of dishes is a big deal…

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This is Adelveiss Leigh Burns. Her first name is inspired by the edelweiss flower and is the result of me watching The Sound of Music during early pregnancy. This, of course, is her song:

Her middle name is also my mother’s middle name. A beautiful name now shared by two beautiful ladies 🙂

I want my babies to slow me down, slow me way down, and Adel has been doing just that. The determined writer who spent the winter waking up at 5:30 and milked each hour of the day for more writing time is now in hibernation, replaced by a mama bear more interested in the quality of her milk supply than the number of her word count. I’m catching up on reading and going over flawed story aspects as well as potential fixes, but they circle in the far back of my mind, and I only let my attention drift there when all else has gone quiet.

Wake up time has been moved to 9 AM, the to-do list has been abandoned, and my expectations have been… significantly adjusted.

Here is all I want out of today:

  • Make some food
  • Make homemade play dough with the “big” kids
  • Love my family and myself well
  • Bless God

Dishes and toilets and word counts don’t make the list; they will soon enough because babies grow too quickly, but not yet.

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the thing about gratitude

15 Feb

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This is our family’s gratitude garland. We started it at the end of last December with just a couple of tags and a Sharpie. I was the one who insisted on it. I could feel my gratefulness slipping through my fingers, and it wasn’t a feeling I enjoyed.

The thing is, gratitude isn’t just a mindset I can switch into; it’s not sitting there for me to grab anytime I want it.

Gratitude – the kind that sticks to me whether my circumstances are rosy or not – that kind of gratitude takes practice.

I used to keep a gratitude journal. Everyday I’d scribble in it the things I didn’t want to take for granted. Mostly they were little things: The sound of Piper’s giggle, the smell of coffee, the way the kids had woken up happy and not grumpy. A haiku my dad had sent to me and my mom. The haiku reply my mom sent back.

Little things. The light on the kitchen table kinds of things.

Over time I grew more joyful and content. I was blessed. I’d recorded the blessings and they looked back at me, proving it.

IMGP0240 (2)Then I slowed down in my record keeping. Life got hectic. Occasionally I’d type out a quick list on Twitter using the hashtag #gratitudes. I fell out of the practice of a grateful heart.

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I don’t enjoy my life near as much when I find myself ungrateful for it. So the garland went up and is still going up, piece by piece. And my art journal/planner now doubles as a place where I keep the list going (an email from Clayton, cilantro in the pasta, kind words from one of the kids) so that my mind is constantly brought back to how blessed I am.

I’m not trying to sugar-coat anything; Life is often times downright awful.

But I find I can latch onto small gratitudes, even in those miserable times, so long as I’m well practiced in it.

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So, that’s it. That’s all I wanted to say.

Oh, and I gave the ol’ blog a little makeover. Do you like it? There are still some things that need adding and tweaking (Twitter feed, anyone?), but I’ve only had small bits of time to work on it. Hopefully I’ll be done with the revamp in another week or so.

Winter’s getting a bit long, and the edits on my book are getting more and more difficult. Maybe I’ll get on here a bit more often 😉

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grand plans & a grand way of keeping them

3 Feb

A writer friend was talking on Facebook the other day about we writers and the processes we go through writing and editing and editing again and again. Then submitting to agents, waiting, editing again, submitting again, editing again – and she laughed and noted that it must seem strange to the non-writers who listen to us with all our many updates.

She’s editing again? I though she did that already. She’s brushing up her query? But she “brushed up” her query LAST month.

Yeah, she brushed it up last month. And she’s brushing it up again now. And she probably brushed it up three times in between but didn’t want to admit to each of those times.

Give her a break.

Now, all of that said, I’m on my last round of edits.

Take that to mean whatever you will.

I’ve got a great method I wanted to share. It’s a slow method but the results have been worth it.

I start by going through all of the edits I put onto my hard copy for one chapter and change them in the Word doc. Once they’re all in I turn on my computer’s voice recorder and read that chapter aloud. I can pause the recorder and make quick fixes as I see them or highlight sentences I want to come back to. Then I listen. I find so many things I can improve this way. I make all of the changes I see to make until the chapter strikes me as perfect. Then I reread it for the recorder one last time. Voila.

I’ve heard countless authors talk about the importance of reading their work aloud once they get close to the final draft. They need to hear it in order to feel it. Recording it and playing it back for myself brings me to yet another level in listening, one in which I’m not even distracting by the reading. I can focus fully on the feel and the flow.

Now, I’m alright with this slow and steady pace, but I want to be sure that I’m querying before my baby #4 comes at the beginning of April. This gives me two months. If I can edit a chapter a day then I’ll have plenty of time to make sure my query is golden and to get all of my *dream agents* in a line as well. Most of this work has already been done, but I want things PERFECT, you guys.

That was a very wobbly lead-in to the next item on this blog post: my art journal/planner.

For those of you who like making art more than you like planning, you’re going to love this. For those of you who like planning more than you like making art, you might want to look away. The sight of a to-do list splattered with paint could prove to be too much for you.

An art journal/planner is pretty much the freakish offspring of -well- an art journal and a planner. Art journals are getting ridiculously popular on the internet and in the artsy circles. Just take a peek on Pinterest. There is no end to it. Now add in a planner, and that’s what I’m doing.

Here is a fun Facebook group if your interesting in getting started. I lurk over there. And here is a blog post better than my own.

Here is my title page:

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And here is week one for me:

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I had fun piecing it together here and there as the week went on, getting out some creative juices without needing to put in much commitment, time, or effort.

I used a mix of media: embroidery floss, mod podge, sharpie markers, pens, pencils, magazine clippings, paint chips, scotch tape, masking tape – even an old grocery list and coffee splatterings.

Here is what week two looks like today, Monday:

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I purposefully taped down just one side of my weekly planner page. This way I have room to make art under my schedule as well.

I’m most excited about documenting and preserving life with this. Writing notes when the kids say or do funny things, when Clayton and I share busy/sweet life with each other, when something worth celebrating happens (like the delivery of a new hoop).

What we’re drinking, listening to, dancing to, laughing at. Memorable things, mundane things. This is a place for it to be recorded.

This will also help me stick to my plans and goals, and give me space in the week to be creative.

Nice, yeah?

Okay, now back to editing…

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i’m holding my moon horses

21 Jan

My plan was to query CSSW at the end of January, but plans have a way of changing. These plans were no exception. Because when I finished my last round of edits, The Voice of Reason showed up UNINVITED and started talking to me. He said, “Hold your moon horses, young lady.”

(For those who don’t know, there are moon horses in my novel; they are horses made by the light of – never mind.)

Then he proceeded to point out – oh, I don’t know – A MILLION different aspects to my story that I should look at and work with some more. I’m good at laughing in The Voice of Reason’s face and going about my merry little way, but this time I didn’t laugh. I crossed my arms, puckered my lips out to the side, and scowled.

My husband gets this face a lot. Probably because he and The Voice of Reason get along so dang well.

Long story short, my list of agents to query is absolutely dreamy, and I only want to send them the very best. So I’m waiting, and working, and scowling.

Send chocolate.

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when you realize your story is awful…

13 Jan

Oi. This latest round of edits is killing me. And possibly killing the book as well. Funny how scenes and sentence that looked so good to me one week can look like hell the next. Only, funny… yeah, that’s not really the right word.

I’m telling myself all the right things: with any project I’m working on, my thoughts are bound to be fickle and fleeting; the important thing is to keep to the writing and the editing whether I’m on a high or a low. Think the book sucks? Fine, but keep working on it. Think it’s a sure-fire New York Times Bestseller? Fine, but get back to work.

Still, I find it a bit disheartening to read through what I thought was very good and instead come to the conclusion that it’s all kinds of messed up.

I’m not the first person to feel this way. I don’t know a lot about the world, but I do know, without a doubt, that the greats and the failures alike have all had conflicting thoughts over their work during its creation. I also like to imagine that the greats are the ones who kept working on it even when their current state told them that the piece was crap – no – especially when their current state told them that the piece was crap.

So I’m getting back to work on mine. Maybe it will fail like my other four novels. Or maybe it will grow into something great. Either way, this is no place to stop.

I’ll let you know if my opinion of it changes.

God, I sure hope it does.

I’ll leave you with a response from one of the greats…

Neil Gaiman Answers Well

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and now onto pitch wars

2 Dec

You missed me, didn’t you?

Well, I missed you, and here I am. Back from the NaNoWriMo trenches and already flung onto the battlefield that is Pitch Wars. Apparently I don’t like to, you know, stop for air. Air. *Pshaw* Who needs that?

NaNoWriMo went well for me this year. I didn’t reach my 50k goal because I didn’t write a single word the last week on account of kids being sick and the whole holiday rush on top of work, but I’m still feeling great about what I got out of it. Nearly 40,000 words of a very cool story that I’m excited to pursue off in the future. I didn’t write what I told you I was going to write. I threw that out early on. I’ll tell you about it sometime when I feel like beating my head against a table.

So, Pitch Wars! I submitted my four entries just moments ago, and I am jazzed. I’m taking CROW AND THE SECRETS OF THE SPIRIT WOODS on its first walk around the block since its creation and rounds of edits, and I couldn’t be more encouraged. We’ll see if any of the truly great mentors I submitted to decide they’d like to take it a few miles. If not then I’ll have one more round of edits and start querying agents. I am so looking forward to it.

‘Perseverance’ has been the word I’ve kept on repeat this past three years while I’ve been writing my heart out, piling up the rejections as I go. Maybe I’m getting close now, or maybe it will be another three years or more. Either way, I’m enjoying the process, the thrill of curious agents and the growing pile of form rejections.

I’ll keep at it.

And I hope you will too.

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Neil Gaiman, ladies and gentlemen

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