Tag Archives: writing

Starting late, trumps never starting

I planted tomato and cucumber seeds last week on the first day of this 100 Day experiment.

(I liked the idea of trying to grow some new life while trying to grow my own life. I’m into sappy symbolism.)

I know it’s WAY too late in the season for the plants. I’ll probably end up with a whole lot of nothing.

So why’d I bother?

Because I firmly believe in this t-shirt I have that says:

Dead Last Finish, Beats Did Not Finish, Which Greatly Trumps Did Not Start

It’s a running shirt, but I happen to think it applies to a whole lot in life.

It’s OKAY to start late. It’s okay to be a beginner no matter how old you are. It’s awesome to start something new. It’s kind of cool to be a late bloomer.

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This has been a year of huge firsts for me. Some of them were forced on me because of my divorce. Some are experiments to figure out who I am and what I like. Some are conscious efforts to try things that are new or outside my comfort zone.

I’ve never grown vegetables before (and I’m guessing that I won’t this year either, but I’ll try).

I run with a group on Saturday mornings. (seriously, sooooo far out of my comfort zone)

I’ve been working on a project I’m not ready to share yet.

Speaking of projects: I just started writing a new Matchmaker Mystery. Yesterday’s start was painfully slow, only 765 words. You can see the beginning here. Maybe you’ll be able to supply an answer I’m looking for and make it into the book!

Are you a late bloomer? Are there things you’re dying to try, but are afraid to start?

 4 Days Down, 96 to Go

 

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The Good Stuff Sticks

I drove myself nuts yesterday trying to figure out what book to write.  I was the equivalent of a dog chasing its tail, spinning round and round for no good reason.  I tried plotting on paper. I tried plotting on my giant whiteboard. I tried plotting with Post Its.

I had lots of ideas, but NOTHING worked.

And I panicked.

Big time.

I was so desperate that I even pulled out an old manuscript I haven’t completed, thinking that maybe I could reformulate it to be the kind of book I wanted it to be. Even that didn’t work.

I lay in bed last night convinced I have no idea what I’m doing. My heart pounded. My stomach churned. My mind raced.

Finally, after hours of tossing and turning I fell asleep.

Of course the moment I woke up, I remembered I didn’t know what I was supposed to write today. I panicked all over again. Then I realized I’d forgotten to set my alarm so that I could get up and run. I was a double-loser before I even got out of bed…happy Monday to me.

I got up, took the dog out, decided it was too hot to run, took care of the plants, made my coffee and ate breakfast.  (The whole eating breakfast thing is one of the habits I’m trying to instill during this 100 Day thing.) While I ate, I worked on some affirmations, which helped to settle my chasing-my-tail-mind down a little.

Then I put my butt in my chair, picked up my purple pen and stared at a blank sheet of paper.

I started to sketch out an idea…one that was new, but felt familiar. I’d scribbled out notes on the entire first act before I realized I’ve written something similar to this before. It was then I’d realized what my subconscious had been trying to tell me yesterday. I DID need to go back to an old manuscript, just not the one I’d found.

I needed to go back, way back, in my archives. How far back?  This far back:

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Yup, the book idea I want to work on was saved on a floppy disk. It’s been rattling around in the back of my head  for that long. Scary, huh?

A while back I saw a thing from Stephen King (can’t remember if it was a column or a speech and of course I didn’t save it) where he basically said he doesn’t keep notes or lists of ideas or anything because “the good stuff sticks”.

Obviously, since this idea has stuck around for so long, I think it’s some good stuff. Time will tell.

Do you hang onto stuff (recipes, projects, supplies, friends, plans, ideas) like a squirrel hoarding acorns, or do you let go of it, trusting that “the good stuff sticks”?

How’s YOUR Monday going?

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According to my schedule I should start writing a new book today. (Note that yesterday I talked about quitting running, today I’m talking about starting a new book…that’s pretty much my internal life, seesawing back and forth between two extremes.)

My work schedule SAYS it’s time to start, but I’m not ready. It’s not that I don’t have anything I want to write about. I have too many things. Too many ideas.  (I’m always so jealous of writers who tell me they only get one idea at a time. That sounds like heaven. I’m ALWAYS being distracted by shiny new playthings.)

I have three books I want to finish. And I know what the next Hitwoman book (EIGHT?!?!) is about. And I want to write the next Matchmaker Mystery.

Decisions. Decisions.

I’ll make a decision this afternoon. I find it’s best to make all important decisions AFTER the first pot of coffee, don’t you?

In terms of working toward my other goals, I ran with my running group yesterday.

It was the first time I encountered a loose dog on a group run. My instinct was to stop as soon as I noticed it (not wanting to engage the dog’s prey instinct) but the rest of the group seemed to continue on. Not sure if that was because they didn’t notice it, or if that’s the way they handle these things.  It ended up being a friendly mutt and his owner came chasing after him, but I still looked up what the “experts” have to say about what to do when you encounter a loose dog.

I found this article. While I agree with most of it, I’m not sure using a “firm” voice is the best idea. My personal belief is dogs can perceive that as a threat, instead I use a cheerful, almost sing-song voice — then again, I’m no expert.

 

In addition to the run-walk, which was probably about 3.5  miles total, I took a very easy 1.5 mile bike ride (my knee was killing me this week, so I trying to gently rehab it) and swam 5 relaxing laps. Not too much pain today…which puts me in a way better state than I was in earlier. 🙂

Are YOU making any decisions today?  I’m open to advice about how you reach your decisions.

 2 Days Down, 98 to Go

Yesterday I was quitting, today I’m starting

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I quit running yesterday

I woke up and decided to quit running.

Sure, just the day before, I’d publicly declared I was going to train for a half marathon, but I KNEW it was time to quit.

Why?

Because I physically hurt.

And I’m tired.

And it’s hot.

And I’m fat.

And I suck at running.

And I could spend the time I spend running doing something more enjoyable.

And what kind of maniac keeps doing something they don’t enjoy?

So I decided to quit.

Then I got out of bed and started my day. Hours later, after giving myself a stern talking to, I decided not to quit after all.

Unfortunately I do this most days. It’s not always about running. Sometimes I quit writing. Sometimes I decide the effort it takes to maintain certain relationships isn’t worth it.  Sometimes I consider letting the garden die just because it’s too much work.

Mornings are not my friend. It’s when the doubt demons are at their most insistent.  (Coffee has wonderful banishing properties.)

One of the things I want to work on during this experiment, is keeping the negative thoughts at bay, because quite frankly it’s a huge waste of energy to have to keep talking myself back into doing stuff.

So for the record, as of now, I’m still running (despite the fact that the above list is still true) and writing, and taking care of the garden….but some people are still on thin ice.  😉

On the plus side, I got a really good start on plotting my next book today

How often do “quit” something? How do you banish our doubt demons?

1 Day Down, 99 to Go

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100 Day Goals

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In yesterday’s post I shared that today is the first of 100 days I’m going to use to take back my life. Today I’ll lay out my goals:

1) Write 200,000 words.  

With all the recent emotional turmoil, I haven’t been as productive as I’d have liked and it’s weighing on me as another “failure”.

I know that for some people this would be a piece of cake. 2000 words a day for 100 days. Easy math.  

Except life is never that clean. For one thing, if I wrote for 100 days straight I’m pretty sure my brain would explode (and there’s no amount of Bounty towels that could clean THAT up).  For another, some of those 100 days will be filled with other stuff, like family visits and a really cool writers conference. SOOOOO 200,000 words in 100 days is a pretty lofty goal.

 

2) Train for a half marathon.

I’ve signed up for a half marathon training program with an amazing group for a race that begins later this month so that I can hopefully complete my fourth (!) half in November. Unfortunately I’ve been plagued by old injuries recently, but I’m going to try to power through them and cross that finish line. I need a new medal.  😉

 

3) Lose 25 pounds.  

I’ve been guilty of self-medicating with food to numb my misery. No more! (Of course this means that my grocery cart may be loaded with even more Kleenex, but that’s okay. I’ll get through it.)

 

4) Meet new people.

There are many wonderful things about working from home, but it does make it a challenge to meet people and since I’ve moved to a state where I really didn’t know anybody, I’m sorely lacking in face-to-face contact. My virtual friends are awesome, but there are days when I wish I could speak out loud to someone other than my dog.  

 

5) Do things that make me happy 

I don’t even know what this will include, but I’m open to suggestions!

 

What would YOU like to accomplish in 100 Days?  

It doesn’t have to be on the same schedule as my 100 Days…just what kinds of things would you like to make a concentrated commitment to at some point?

BUT if you want to join me, today, or at any point in this journey, please do. I’d love to cheer you on.

jen

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Join me at GoodReads

Next Thursday 1/10/13 I’m participating in a Q&A on GoodReads. Sign up today and join the chat next week!

I’m posting my progress as I chase my 2013 goals. Goals are in italic. Progress is bold.

Here’s what I did (and didn’t do) on Thursday 1/3/13.

Stick to my writing/publication schedule  –  Wrote 4200 words….deleted 1700 of them….sigh

 

Blog about my progress 5 times per week –  Doing well with this one

 

Run three times per week/race six times in year/walk 365 miles – It didn’t make it to freezing today so I only took the dog for short walks.

 

Run with someone other than the dog or Long Suffering two times-

 

Lose twenty pounds- 

 

Practice yoga or meditation AND strength training 3x per week-  Meditated 

 

Take a class/attend a conference- 

 

Find a volunteer opportunity I actually like- 

 

Take a photograph every day (and try to post them)- Took a pic of one of the mutts. Forgot to sync it. Will try to post later.

 

Banish excuses!- I need a nap.

HOW ARE  YOU DOING WITH YOUR RESOLUTIONS/GOALS?

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All the Killer Chicks are chiming in with their plans for the year. Join in our discussion.

Meanwhile, over here, I’m tracking my progress as I try to reach the goals I’ve set for myself for 2013.   I hope you’ll jump in and share your goals/resolutions and more importantly, the progress YOU are making. As you’ll see, I’m far from perfect when it comes to my own.  🙂

The bolded section is what I accomplished on 1/2/13.  The italics are my goals for the year.

Stick to my writing/publication schedule  –  Blech! I only wrote about 1700 words…the goal was to write 3000. BUT I did get a lot of promo work done.

 Blog about my progress 5 times per week – Here I am again! 

 Run three times per week/race six times in year/walk 365 miles –  Walked 1 mile and baby, was it COLD outside!

 Run with someone other than the dog or Long Suffering two times-

 Lose twenty pounds- 

 Practice yoga or meditation AND strength training 3x per week-  Did some upper body strength training. 

 Take a class/attend a conference- 

 Find a volunteer opportunity I actually like- 

 Take a photograph every day (and try to post them)-  

I tried to capture the winter sunset through the bare trees, but didn’t quite capture the colors. 

Banish excuses!-  working at it!

I hope you’re doing better than I am. Are you??

 

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Ten Minutes to the Universe — Bone in a Tree

Want a glimpse into the creative recesses of my mind? (Warning: It’s a scary place!) Once a week in 2013 I’ll be posting a ten minute timed writing over on the blog of my friend and critique partner, Cynthia Valero, at 10 Minutes to the Universe. My first goes up today! Check it out!

 

As promised, this year I’m going to do my best to post my goals and progress most days of the week.

I’m celebrating the start of the New Year by running a 5k (3.1 miles) and then will be visiting with friends, so I don’t expect to make much headway on my goals today, lol.

What about you? What are your plans for the day? Have you made any resolutions? Created any goals for yourself?

 

 

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