You guys, I just noticed the 10th anniversary* of this blog has quietly come and gone and I did nothing to make note of it. What started as a simple task to keep family from freaking out while we traveled, burgeoned into an up-to-thrice weekly effort to build an audience platform that might make me more attractive to publishers, and then waxed and waned according to how funny (or pissed off, embarrassed, caustic, or inspired) I was feeling week by week has really atrophied as of late. And I feel terrible about that.
Someone asked me recently “are you evenwriting anymore?” as if it’s something like a tree falling in the forest: not really there unless someone is able to respond to it in some way.
In short, writing? Yes! Pushing pithy material out on this poor blog? Not so much.
It feels like a breakup, and I’ll admit I’ve been a little mopey about it for a couple of days. But my mind is made up.
After nearly six years together, my first all-but-complete novel and I are taking a break.
The project began as nugget of a thought which turned into a daydream which I then outlined and then fleshed out a little bit more. It stalled out once, but then I picked it back up as a NaNoWriMo 2015 project and raced to the end of my first first-draft, pretty darn proud of myself.
Of course, it needed some polishing and I knew there was hard work left to be done. I was also pretty sure I could be ready to start querying agents that spring, followed shortly thereafter by a Twitter announcement about securing one such agent. Then there’d be a fun cover reveal, a launch party, the announcement of book tour dates, etc.
I wouldn’t quit my day job, though. That’d come after the sequel.
Last week I received an invitation from Ashley in Alabama. It was less of an invitation, really, than a summons. Ashley’s PR firm is starting a blog targeting women “of a certain age,” featuring content that will focus on what they’ve decided are some of our favorite F-words: family, friendship, faith, fashion, friendship, fitness, finances and funny.
Ashley’s firm would like original, carefully edited copy, 500 – 800 words, please, accompanied by original photos and/or graphics. They reserve the right to do a little additional editing.
I know what you’re thinking. Ashley left out a few F-words. Like the Fortunes they aren’t paying for all that original content. Then there’s the Foolishness of my using my Free Time to come up with an entire blog dedicated to all kinds of F words like Flatulence, Fandango, and … and whatever else I might think of that starts with F.
Anyway, I didn’t answer Ashley’s email. At least not right away.
Hey, I did that thing! You know, that thing where you set yourself up with an impossible task and then you’re really bitchy to your family and neglect your work and health and all the household chores for a whole month while you get it done?
No, silly, not Christmas. Guess again.
I wrote fifty thousand and some words for National Novel Writing Month. And I’m still nowhere close to being done with the actual novel, so no, you can’t read it. But I have the cutest outfit picked out for my photo on the book jacket.
And since my brain is a big pile of goobers after that, you’re going to get a list for today’s blog:
Stuff I discovered while neglecting everything else for NaNoWriMo:
I live with supportive people. Today Colin told me he had to come up with an epilogue for a book they read in class and he enjoyed writing creatively. “I can see why you do it,” he said.
“My working title is The Vinyl Hound,” Mike said. “It’s a character study about a dog made of vinyl, who wants to be an astronaut.”
“I swear to God, you need to promise you’re not going to say that, or I won’t sit by you.”
Kind of a lame threat, but all I had.
This was on our way to a kick off for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo (which always makes me think of Mork and “nanoo, nanoo,” but whatever). It’s the latest thing for which we’ve signed up but don’t actually have time, and it’s also the only way I’d be caught in a Fuddruckers on a Saturday night.
Or on pretty much any night, for that matter.
Mike’s signed up because of a story that’s been burning a hole in his brain for much of his adult life having to do with growing up in Central Idaho. Actually, given the propensity of very small towns for more crazy per capita than anywhere else, he probably has several such stories.
Maybe you’ve guessed I don’t keep this blog up for the fame or fortune, nor the many interesting requests I get from people who want me to post reviews on their dog accessories, toys or skin care systems for free (your readers would really love to know about our new, interactive floor mat … would they now, really?).
Although, maybe you have a life and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my motivation. I occasionally get comments from people who are worried about my sanity, or the safety of my children, but maybe that’s not you.
If you want to know the truth, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it either. I enjoy dumping the contents of my brain out, sorting through the garbage, and then sharing whatever seems to make sense. Sometimes people tell me it makes them snort coffee out their nose.
I don’t get a lot of snarky comments on my blog, and for that I’m grateful.
But this showed up the other day:
“To be honest, I didn’t see the Mommy relationship in this blog…”
Huh. Suddenly I’m in English Lit class circa 1990.
The comment was left on a site that compiles a pool of “mommy bloggers,” on which I’ve listed my blog. The site drives a fair amount of traffic my way, assuming I can keep toward the top of the polls. It’s the reason I keep nagging you to click on the button at the bottom of each post.
So I’m a “mommy blogger” specifically in the humor category. There are others blogs here in the contest and giveaway category, stay at home mom category, adoptive parents, special needs parenting, and … you get the picture.
Last week I spent a couple days at a conference for writers, the same conference which last year inspired me to quit neglecting this poor blog.
There was plenty of inspiration this year too.
What’s rather uninspiring is how the craft of writing raises the question of publishing, and a need to understand an industry that grants commercial success in seemingly equal measure to the Hemingways of this world as it does to the folks who continue to bring us vampire lit.
So, you know, there were moments at that conference that were less uplifting than others.
I blame all the schmoes who are supposed to be buying books, but are more interested in celebrity fat-shaming tabloid photos, or reality television.
I’ve never been into making New Year’s resolutions. Those things are pretty much doomed by Valentine’s Day, and it’s hard to annually decide on something simultaneously important enough to actually address, but not so much I mind dooming it to the traditional resolution process.
Last New Year’s I made my first resolution of my adult life by committing time to write every day for fun.
Carving out a daily hour or two isn’t easy. Everybody around here revs up early, and in order to have me-time, I have to get up earlier. I’m no more a morning person than I am a resolution person.
That being said, I’m on track to have written nearly every day from January on. Rather than losing steam, I’m more energized than ever. No more dreaming up something good, then forgetting it when it worms its way out of my head before I can pay attention.
Yesterday, Mike showed me an article on “54 Things Everyone Should Know.” On first glance I saw: you should know how to build a fire without matches, and you should know basic first aid. I was immediately stressed because my first aid card is out of date. And I’m not very good at building a fire with matches. Not even with those lighter-fluid soaked briquettes. Maybe if I wrap a stick of dynamite with kerosene-soaked tissue paper and take a blow-torch to it. Maybe.
I also worry because printing out articles like this could mean Mike is either on the brink of a mid-life crisis or worrying about whether we’re teaching the boys anything worthwhile – either one could mean a busy winter coming up.