A Work in Progress

It has been a  long time, my friends.This is due to a combination of things, including a promotion at work, moving, writer’s block (see also: procrastination, see also: fear), and teething twins.

You may have noticed that I did deliver on a couple of my promises from this post regarding my website makeover. My “About” page is finally done! Click here to check it out (more insights into this fangirl than any of you should probably have, but I’m pretty proud). Also, I have separated all of my writing-related posts into their own page. I felt they would be more beneficial to those that would be interested in them that way. Other than that, I am currently working on the second draft of my edgy YA, The Art of Falling. You can read about it on my Work in Progress page. Books that have provided loads of hormone-ridden, end-of-the-world drama, and touching teenage intensity can be seen below :

 

As things calm down at the new job, and the babies ease into sleep a little more gently, then I can get back to work (writing work, not work work) a little more earnestly. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t always have to be actively writing to still be a writer. Here are the other, equally important, fun things I’ve been up to in the meantime.

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My twins, preferring to play with all things that are not their toys, like this rocking ottoman

 

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This lovely lady got her hair did
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She doesn’t understand the items on the glass table aren’t just floating in the air

 

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Creating reading nooks…

 

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…and writing crannies–from chaos.

Also, I’m working on a couple of art projects to get my creativity flowing, a painting for my daughters’ room and a gift for my best friend.  But I can’t show you pictures of those, because then I’d have to kill ya. 🙂 (That smiley face is a lot more sinister than I’d intended. I’m leaving it.)

What do you have planned for the summer? Is the word of the day productivity or play? Maybe a combination, eh?

An Almost Perfect Reading Session

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Because I work a day job while trying to being a writer, I have to take my moments of productivity when I can get them. Now don’t let me fool you; it is a rare thing to find me writing after work. I usually binge on my days off. But on the off-chance that I can get something accomplished, I tend to carry with me whatever chapter/poem/outline I’m working on to look over on my lunch break to, ideally, make a dabble of progress. Of this one hour time slot for writing-related work, I dedicate about 15 minutes to the preparation of my lunch and the consuming thereof (again, don’t let me fool you: it’s almost all prep. I inhale food like a soldier in the chow hall).

You’re probably wondering why I’m yammering on about writing–and eating–when this post is about reading. Well, I’ve had a lot of coffee today, so you’re just gonna have to deal with my digressions. Now, though this is my designated writing time, I just so happen to have a Write Night tonight, and I have already completed my chapters and sent them off to my best friend/writing partner’s capable hands. In keeping with the lunch theme, I have also already devoured her chapters.

Necessities for Write Night critique sessions: good food, CAFFEINE, and colorful gel pens, duh
Necessities for Write Night critique sessions: good food, CAFFEINE, and colorful gel pens, duh

So, having accomplished all of these grand tasks, I thought I’d let myself indulge in some relaxing reading. I had two things to choose from: a One Story, entitled “Claire, the Whole World” (really good so far) sent to me in a carefully crafted care package by the illuminous* and industrious, Carie Juettner, or Dracula (I have 15 pages left; I’m so close!). But I’m not going to tell you what I chose, because what I read doesn’t matter. The point is, that hour–or 45 minutes realistically speaking–of drowsy-after-lunch-hot-afternoon tranquility was beautiful. And in that sublime state, you will sometimes find that your thoughts lilting on some strange, almost surreal, bend to whatever you’re reading, but for the life of you, you can’t recall the thought when you come to. This is a uniquely satisfying state to read a book in.

This isn’t the perfect state to read a book in, because let’s face it, if you have to pay attention, this is actually the opposite way you should consume the reading material. But it can be deemed an almost perfect reading session, which brings us to our list of requirements for–yep, you guessed it–an almost perfect reading session:

  • 1 comfy chair
  • an even climate (preferably a controlled one if it’s 108 outside like it is here)
  • a spot of tea or coffee-yes, even in the afternoon
  • a full, happy tummy
  • a kitty on my lap would have been nice, but alas we have no office cats. I will have to retry this entire thing on my day off
Doesn't she look so damn cuddly?
Doesn’t she look so damn cuddly?
  • And finally, a really good book. You can use an e-reader, but it really isn’t the same. You can argue with me, but I stand by that statement 😉

So eat your lunch–please, chew your food–gather your chair and book and kitty and settle in for a lovely afternoon of reading/dozing/almost-perfect contentment.

*Pretty sure I made that word up

6 Tell-Tale Signs You’re a Writer*

1. Simplicity Be Damned!

You obsess, perhaps a bit like the way I did over what my first blog entry would be about–to which my hyper-logical, complimentary other half soothed with, “just introduce yourself”. So simple yet too simple for me (just who do I think I am?)

2. System Overloading

The first leads right into the next sign: you over analyze.  Everything. (Which you may have been able to deduce I have a problem with given all the parenthetical asides already and the possible lack of a steadily progressing, streamlined idea). I’ve often wondered, did this come before the writing or did the writing stem from it as a necessary outlet? I think they developed about the same time in my preteens. You may argue that obsession and over analysis are one in the same. I beg to differ. Being an over-analytic gets Sherlock Holmes into a lot of trouble –because he can’t turn a blind eye–but he solves the issues! Obsession…well, obsession makes you all that much closer to the villain archetype (I just admitted to being a villain archetype, didn’t I?). And not to mention, obsession brings you that much closer to misery. 

Ha.
Ha.

3. Cats.

Speaking of misery. Just a jest. I love my prowling, reflective-eyed keepers of the Underworld. I even wrote a poem about them called “The Order of Felis Domestica”, which you can find in this lovely lit mag here.

Nala...no, she's not dead. She's recharging her demonic energy
Nala…no, she’s not dead. She’s recharging her demonic energy
Captcha disarms unsuspecting victims with her adorable allure
Captcha disarms unsuspecting victims with her adorable allure
How'd that get in there?
How’d that get in there?

You had to know I was gonna talk about this. Even those who don’t have cats can empathize (dog lovers, bird lovers, turtle lovers, ferret lovers, what have you). I recently happened to notice that there’s an abundance of cat lovers in the writing field. Or maybe not all of you are “cat lovers” per se, but slaves to cats rather. You live for their benefit: keeping the bottom of their food dish from becoming visible, having phalanges with which they can torment like baby mice, maintaining a nice, cushiony body that they can knead in their one particular moment of affection (also known to a feline as weakness).

4. Your Internal Compass is Always Pointed Due Institutions that Exist Solely to House Books

You know where the library is, and you know how to use it. In fact, you get excited about trips to the library even though you already have hundreds of books in your living space, threatening to bury you at any given moment and steal your last breath, which you would willingly forfeit just to go on living with the damn things. Because living without them is not an option.

5. You Daydream

A lot. Daydreaming may also be known as an activity my best friend/writing partner extraordinaire likes to call “what-if-ing.” What-if-ing can consume you. I personally wish I had more of a knack for it, to just sit down and let everything else go–the cleaning, the cats, the obsession and over analysis about other aspects of my life. But when it does take hold of me, watch out. Stark. Raving. Mad.

You appreciate these paroxysms as a writer; there is some value in being, in a sense, mad. But, please, do not think I am making light of psychological imbalances–it is in fact one of my biggest fears (which I intend to write about in a later post). I am only tipping my hat to the suffering and psychological torture that incessantly plops down on the billows of the writer’s productivity.

6. A Multilayered View of the World

Finally, as a writer, you may find that you associate events of your life, or favorite songs and books, with milestones (or fictional events) in your writing: when you finished writing that poem on the metaphysical nature of the coffee mug, you were listening to  “Satan Gave Me a Taco” by Beck; when you finished your novel, your nephew was born not a month later (a month may seem, to the non-writer, like too big of a time gap for these two events to be relevant, but that’s why this post is entitled “6 Tell-Tale Signs You’re a Writer” and not “6 Weird, Random Things That Don’t Really Ring True for Non-Writers”). You get the picture.

*bonus sign, you know the author that used ‘tell-tale’ in one of his story titles

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So while outlining some of the tell-tale signs of being a writer, I suppose I did just what my complimentary part said I should do: introduce myself (and maybe I fulfilled this task a bit over-zealously). What are some signs you deem indicative of being a writer that bleed into you day to day life in a helpful (or not so helpful) way? When did you first KNOW?