Monday, January 30, 2012

Seeing more clearly

I'm thinking about views tonight. The view from my home office is of palm trees and sky. From my other office, I can see the mountains. This photo shows the idyllic view from one of my favorite hotels.

Sometimes I'm so burdened by worries within that I forget to turn outward ... and view the stuff happening around me ~ the good and the challenging.

Like I mentioned in the post about my word for the year (intentional), that's not living. Living is consciously looking for the sparkle in the rough, it's being aware of God's presence in the midst of trials, it's finding joy in every day. Every. Day.

I'm trying. And you know what? Living intentionally is working. Life's not perfect, and it won't be until we're sitting in the sand on Heaven's beach. But in the here and now, I like what I'm beginning to see.

How about you? From where you're standing, how's it looking out there?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What a way to make a living ...

If you've read my recent newsletter, you know that I decided to take a job outside of my little hovel of an office. Yes, I've gone corporate. The company I work for owns oodles of radio stations and keeps me hopping.

But that's not what I'm writing about today.

What I'm writing about is the need for writers to get out of the "hovel of an office" and experience, well, life. That doesn't mean you have to get a 9-5 job, but here's the thing: it's tough to keep up the social skills when you spend most of your days talking to/arguing with/cooing over ... fictional humans.

Not only that, the publishing business is cruel. After spending months and months talking to said characters, usually in a bathrobe or maybe sweats, you're encouraged ... no, wait ... you're EXPECTED to put on nice clothes and actually talk to people. You have to do more than talk to them ~ you have to convince them to buy your book!

For some writers, that might be a breeze, but for many I know, including yours truly, it's a form of torture. Novelists are by nature curious people, but many are also shy. They like to be unassuming. They like their quiet walks to stir up the creativity when their characters won't think and act as they want them to, and they like their privacy.

And like me, they become woefully out of practice socially after spending many months alone with their characters.

I've been working outside my home office for nearly two months now (I still edit quite a bit too ... but that's a blog for another time), and one thing I can tell you: I'm learning to socialize again, to have extended conversations with real human beings, and to play nice with others in a big, corporate sandbox.

Something tells me, there's a story here somewhere ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meet my friend, Gina Conroy

The Five Stages of Writing Grief
by Gina Conroy

Receiving a writing rejection can feel as if a part of your dream has died. After one such rejection last summer, I realized I was going through the stages of writing grief.

When I was first told by my mentor that I should scrap my 50,000 word WIP and start over, I was in SHOCK and DENIAL. I was being asked to delete six months of my writing life! I was paralyzed for an entire weekend. I couldn't think, let alone apply any of the great teaching my mentor gave me to my current WIP which was technically dead to me at the moment.

After the excitement and the adrenaline of the weekend wore off I went through a mixture of ANGER and BARGAINING and DEPRESSION. I don't remember the anger stage being strong, but depression was incapacitating at times! I couldn't write or even read. What was the point! My story was dead, and I wasn't about to try and read someone else's story while I was grieving.

Then came the bargaining. Maybe, just maybe I could salvage the WIP. So I tried writing my historical romance in first person. I only got 113 words written before depression set in again, and I realized it was useless. If I turned my WIP into women's fiction as my mentor suggested, it would be a totally different story with a different feel and plot. Which was okay, but something I didn't have the energy to do. After all, I was still grieving.

So I started revisiting an old idea, close to my heart that I'd been afraid to write. First, I reread the 7 pages, the only pages I'd written. My heart was stirred. I felt new life coming back into my soul. So I read it again, and edited just a few lines and added a few more. Could I do this?

Then I sent it out to some trustworthy friends for confirmation that I should be working on this story. And they concurred. I should run with this one. Now, over a year later, I'm almost finished with the first draft, and I’m glad I allowed new life to flow into this story.

Where are you in your writing? Are you grieving?
Sometimes if we identify the loss, it makes it easier to move on!
Gina Conroy is president and founder of Writer...Interrupted where she mentors busy writers. Knowing how difficult it is to raise a family as well as a career, she chronicles her triumphs and trials on Defying Gravity, hoping to encourage those on a similar path. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. Gina loves to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter
In Buried Deception in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection Mount Vernon archaeology intern and widow Samantha Steele wants to provide for her children without assistance from anyone. Security guard and ex-cop Nick Porter is haunted by his past and keeps his heart guarded. But when they discover an artifact at Mount Vernon is a fake, Nick and Samantha need to work together, set aside their stubbornness, and rely on each other or the results could be deadly. Will Samantha relinquish her control to a man she hardly knows? Can Nick learn to trust again? And will they both allow God to excavate their hearts so they can find new love?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Word to the wise ...

Lately, friends have been talking about the "word" God has given them for the year. Not sure if this is a fad, trendy, or something wise Christians have been requesting for years. Nevertheless, I decided to ask God for a word of my own, and he let me know that he'd already given me one.


The word that had been rolling around in my head even before I asked the question, was intentional. Actually, there was a phrase, too: intentional living.

I haven't exactly begun to define it, but I've already found myself doing and thinking things intentionally. Not just going through the motions, or "getting through it" but living the life God gave me consciously. Ha ... seriously, sometimes when I have to think too hard I find myself glazing over and watching the minutes tick by so I can call it a night. But that's not living!

Don't get me wrong, though. I don't think that intentional living means adding more to my schedule. That's overbooked as it is, thank-you-very-much. I think it's more of a "stop and smell the roses" kind of thing. (Or in my case, "stop and smell the sea air.") Or when life gets tough, and it does at times, I've already begun to "stop and praise the Lord" through it.

So here's to 2012 and living intentionally--and finding out more about what that means. What about you? Any thoughts on what you're going to do differently in this new year?