In an effort to stay, or rather become current, I’ve opened a Twitter account. Tweet with me @pjonesnill.
2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year – I hope I can keep up! My first picture book is slated for publication by Clear Fork Press this August. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m sure other soon to be published authors feel the same way. I’m trying to keep writing new work or revising others but my focus is not cooperating.
In an effort to re-focus myself, this weekend I spent time organizing. I started by reviewing my other manuscripts. I keep everything I’m working on in hard copy, old fashioned I know but it works for me. Any critique group notes are filed with those manuscripts. That makes it easy for me to look back if I’ve left the manuscript and notes to cook a little. I looked at all of them and selected two that I want to begin revising. Two should be enough to keep me in the writing mode.
Then I moved on to planning marketing for the August 2017 book release. It’s only seven months away. Granted, I started thinking about this before I had even submitted the manuscript but I never dreamed I’d be really doing it! I’ve not gotten very far, but I recognized that it is not something that I can just set a couple hours at and let it grow. This will need my attention.
Super Bowl Sunday is usually busy and we were supposed to attend a party, but that was canceled at the last minute and I quickly looked to fill up that time slot with productive writing time. I typed up notes for a new story idea that I had worked out the day before. It seemed to flow so well, I kept going and actually got my first draft on paper too! That was exciting. I researched upcoming conferences and organized some library books that I have to return. I’ve not had that much momentum for a story in a long time. Creativity is very recognizable if you stop to listen to it.
I’m not that much of a fan for either of the two teams playing so I have no problem sitting here, away from the T.V. with my notes, my laptop, and my thoughts. If only there were more days like this. Getting back to work… Go, Team(s)!
This post is going to be short because I find that I am getting weepy.
Today is my son’s 25th birthday. So long ago but then again it seems like yesterday. As a small child he was so good and he has grown into a wonderful young man. Respectful, loving, funny and gifted. My husband often said that we won the child lottery when Brian was born. It was a joke then, but it turns out to have been true.
Best wishes for a wonderful day.
Mom – 1,2,3.
I consider myself a generally patient person. I don’t mind long car rides. As a kid, I don’t think I ever asked, “Are we there yet?” I was having too much fun. The way back in the old family station wagon was cozy with pillows, blankets and stuffed animals. There was always the scenery from the windows. Day or night there was always something to see, even if it was a ton of other cars in a traffic jam. That was not a worry for me, I was just a passenger.
As I’ve grown older, I find that I still do enjoy the journey, as a passenger whether it be a plane, train or automobile.
One area where my patience is not as developed as it should be is waiting to hear back from publishers. I equate the time between sending out a manuscript and receiving feedback like waiting for Santa Claus at Christmas. Waiting for that response makes me feel like my six-year-old self sitting under the Christmas tree next to a big gift wrapped in shiny paper with curly ribbons looking suspiciously like a bicycle – that I’ve been told I can’t open.
Sounds a bit odd if the feedback is a “thanks but no thanks” kind of a comment, but my gift is the acknowledgement. As a writer I’ve worked on a manuscript and gotten it to be the best that I think it can be. I’ve shared it with my critique groups. I’ve revised it , shared it again, put it aside, revisited it, polished it, blessed it and put it out there. After all that work, I proudly accept the “thanks no thanks” response as “we recognize all that you have put in but…”
Being passenger or driver makes a huge difference in the patience factor. As a passenger, the expectation is to be carried from one place to another. As a driver, I am responsible for the trip. So I’m responsible for the outcome as well. That’s why my patience goes from abundant to zero.
As I write this, I have two manuscripts out to publishers, so I’m working on my patience. Combatting my impatience with productivity keeps me from wringing my hands and pacing the floors and eating. I’m working on a new story. I’ve put up some Zucchini Relish and will be canning more things this weekend. As the saying goes, Nunca hierva una olla vista or A watched pot never boils.
I made it out to Southampton this morning for what I call my New Year’s Day. It’s the annual Shinnecock Nation powwow and I’ve been going for nearly 20 of those 70 years. It’s like a homecoming for me because I have made so many friends. The reservation is only open to the public over the Labor Day weekend. This year we are waiting for Hermine, either a tropical storm or a hurricane – she hasn’t decided yet. No rain during today’s event, it was just very overcast. Hopefully, the remainder of the weekend will allow for the event to attract its patrons. As a fundraiser for the Shinnecock Nation, it would be a huge revenue loss if visitors were kept away by Mother Nature. The event is rain or shine so I wish them all the best.
The Aztec Dancers from Mexico were one of the groups that I was able to photograph before my digital camera battery died. I had my film 35mm with me so I was able to continue taking photos but will have to wait for the images. I may see if I can finish the roll this week. Pros and cons of technology – digital = instant photos, battery willing. Film requires no batteries but has a wait time for developing.
I didn’t do any writing today at all. I did do a lot of thinking, maybe that should be called, pre-writing. I’ll jot down those thoughts this evening and see where they lead. I have a couple more days till I have to be back at work so I’ll try to make the most of them.
I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Stay safe.
June and July passed very quickly and now I find myself near the end of a quiet summer. If I had not finished my first “project” I’d feel very incomplete, but that is happily not the case. I completed the lamp project and feel very accomplished with myself.
My son’s middle school lamp project showed off his carpentry skills but the assigned design left the lamp on the utilitarian side for me – so I designed it up.
For a few dollars at Home Depot I picked up a really cool stone tile matrix, thin set, grout, and nautical rope.
After the lamp was done I began listening to BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert. I got the audiobook because there were no hard copies available in my library when I wanted it. I started listening to the first disc in the car on the way home from the library. A couple pf chapters in and I felt as if Ms. Gilbert was speaking just to me. Her discussions on creativity coming not by our own doing but when we are most ready to receive and work with it was profound.
This was a very timely book for me. I knew I was procrastinating away from my writing. I was hitting road blocks, mental and otherwise, so I was looking for diversions to fill in my time but I didn’t realize that working on that lamp was actually my creativity gaining traction and getting me ready for the next project. According to Gilbert, well my understanding of Gilbert anyway, creativity needs us to keep moving forward. Rather than being a lump on the couch waiting for an idea or a creative spark, I hooked onto the first thing I saw – the lamp – and moved full steam ahead. That 3-pound wood look lamp is now about 15 pounds.
I started a short list of ideas for new stories but the one I started working on today came to me as I looked at some photographs that I recently shot. Creative photography helped spark a story idea. It could be nothing, meaning it is not a story that I need to tell right now – or it could be something, the story that I do need to tell right now. I booked 1000 words today without really trying. The “butt in chair” thing seems to be something I avoid if I don’t have a story to work on. I’ve learned to limit Facebook and email time so its time to tackle that too.
I’m taking a couple of days off this month to work on my writing. I’ll actually have a couple new ideas to work on those days. That will make me feel more creative too.
Also – I’ll probably listen to BIG MAGIC again before I return it to the library.
It’s a couple days past the holiday at this point. but I’m still organizing all that I did last weekend. I worked on several projects around the house and I DID NOT go grocery shopping! That was so liberating. A quick stop to the butcher shop and that was it. There were no long lines, no crazy traffic in the parking lot. What a wonderful way to shop.
The highlight before the real fireworks was going to visit the graves of my parents. Rocky came with me and stayed still long enough for one photo. He loves to roam, sniff and explore, on leash of course.
Three days of fireworks made this was definitely one weekend to stay home with the dog. Rocky is ok with most sounds but constant bombardment was even a bit much for me at times.
Reading was more on the agenda for this weekend on the picture book end of things. I read a couple manuscripts that I have to critique for critique partners. I read and re-read versions of a couple manuscripts that I’m working to get submission ready. I was always told to step away from a manuscript for a while if you get stuck and go back and see what happens. That was the best advise that I could have followed. It was like new paths opened and all of a sudden I knew where the story was going. Even better, I was able to fix things that had been clunky before the break. Now that I’m happier with these manuscripts, I’m looking for a good home for them. On to researching editors and agents.