Rethinking This Blog

After another fun day.
After another fun day.

Current status: After a week’s vacation visiting nephews, relaxed for the moment.

I may not be here on the page, but I ponder my blog often. I think to myself: Ah, I should write about that. Or: That would be a good blog post. But then, I don’t get around to writing the new posts. Instead, I jot a list of the posts I will write. Something like this:

Cultivating creativity
Taking stock

Fledgling Jedi masters
Fledgling Jedi masters

Hmm…Now I don’t remember what I was going to write. I’ve led myself into a blog-tangle, as if my posts need to be deep or significant — and include an appropriate photo, too. I’ve complicated the process.


So, I’m going to try a new blogging method: Shorter posts (hear these are better anyhow, for readability), not necessarily with an image. Reminder to self: This blog is about the trials and tribulations of my writing life. Most of the time, these trials and these tribulations aren’t deep or significant. They’re the daily blips that I imagine are typical of most fictionistas.

But hey, look what I just did–wrote a mini-essay about shortening my posts…And, included photos, too!

Cheering Myself Up

easterI’m sitting here on Easter Sunday, staring at a section of manual entitled “Target Settings.” I’m editing this section (fiction feels far away, needless to say), and I’m missing an annual Easter brunch with some of my best friends in the world, a couple of whom I went to college with and who know me well enough to know that I’m not there because things ain’t exactly right with me at the moment…

This is not to say that I’m forgoing all social activities this weekend. Yesterday, after five hours of work that didn’t lead to any forward progress with my many overly project-managed deadlines, I went to a friend’s house to dye eggs, drink, and eat. We consumed lilac-colored martinis made with Parfait Amour liquor. Yummy. I drank one too many.

That was good. I needed it. Not feeling tip-top right now, but I just now decided that I AM going to this same friend’s Easter dinner. I’m not going to miss both of my Easter Sunday engagements because of the work — no, no, no.

Dogwalking with camera in handThe thought of a traditional ham dinner cheers me up (as food usually does), and just now, staring at words like “configure” and “properties” and “redirection,” I got to thinking about cheering myself up in general.

Yesterday I bought an “anti-gravity” (i.e. reclines) chair for the deck so that I can sit comfortably out there with my laptop (or not) when the weather warms. I’m looking forward to this. I’m going to pot flowers too.

But right now, what? Blogging seems to be helping, actually. I’m glad to be here, writing this, blowing off the work for 30 minutes.

And what else? My camera. I remembered it a few days ago. Snapping pictures soothes me. Any mundane image will do. Here are a few other things that cheered me up this week:


Easter treats to share with friends
Easter treats to share with friends
Wildflower fields
Wildflower fields
New ring for spring
New ring for spring

Many Brains

papaccinos1Two weeks since my last post, and, frankly, I’m  surprised. Did I dive under the covers in a final rebellion against winter gloominess? Almost.

The other day I realized that I wasn’t thinking about much of anything. My blogging brain went on hiatus. Earning-money brain took over for awhile. I’m sure it’s the adjustment. Up until now, I’ve been on the writing grant: all creativity, all the time, with plenty of cerebral space for blogging brain and fiction brain.

I hope earning-money brain pipes down so that blogging brain will regain space. The only reason I’m blogging today is because I scheduled it in. Scheduled it in. Oy. And I had to leave the house to get it done. (Not that I mind sitting in cafes.)

In truth, this not-thinking-about-much-of-anything business feels good, as if I’ve been vacationing far, far away from my bad-ass, overthinking self. I’m relaxed, rejuvenated, ready for the thoughts to start again.

Old-School Pacific Northwest
Too Classic: Old-School Pacific Northwest

And, guess what? I’ve only got two chapters left for this round of revisions! Something to say for myself, after all. I had that epiphany last month, which has led to further revelations. So, another round coming up. It’s all good.

Just now, the women in the photo said, “I’ve always wondered who reads blogs.” She said this like, What’s the point? I used to wonder the same thing. All I can say in this moment, sipping a nonfat latte, listening to The Black Keys (a bluesy duo; good stuff) background music, sitting in a wing-back chair, that I’m enjoying myself.

Just a January Thing

bakerspice3Honestly, I have no idea what happened. I started off the week on a positive, focused note, only to have all that energy slither into a January hole. This is nothing new; every year it’s the same thing. Sometimes I wish we had it like the Aussies with the New Year occuring in high summer. That way I’d already be energetic, all the better to proceed with fresh goals and perspectives.

I managed some revision work, but only because I forced myself out of the house and into a cafe without WiFi (key!). Even then, I found myself staring at people, out the window, into my vegan soup. I jotted revision notes on Post-Its — that is, ideas for the next revision cycle — and this wore me out.

I managed to put away two baskets of laundry that have been sitting around since December. And I found a spot to store a Christmas present that I’ll never use; it had been gathering dust next to the couch. And I finally bought lightbulbs for both bathroom vanities, which take four each, and which were down to only one working bulb each.

bakerspice21I spent a whole day figuring out how to access a thing called the “source depot,” which is where I’ll get and retrieve work materials for my day-job projects. It’s a telecommuting thing. Who knew I’d have to download a new program, update my computer with Microsoft Updates, get credentialed, set up a extranet portal account and enable it, install a depot client, create a PPTP  connection, and, figure out the correct port name to connect to the correct database.

Did you understand any of that? I didn’t.

Many potential blog posts popped into my head, found little nourishment, and slithered away again.

Believe it or not, I don’t consider myself a moody person. It’s just January.

More Like With a Puff

wintermistStruck me today as I was walking that I haven’t started 2009 with a bang. This includes blogging. Any new readers that have come my way probably aren’t impressed with me at the moment.

My brain’s foggy, trying to wade through my priorities for 2009.

I just wrote seven rambling paragraphs and erased them because I don’t know what I’m feeling and what I meant to convey. In those seven paragraphs I admitted to desperation and disappointment and fear.

I suppose what’s really on my mind is this: I’m returning to my life as of summer 2007. That is, I’m back to technical writing to pay the bills (writing grant kaput) with no publishing contract in sight (literary agent kaput). And this feels like a sad, been-there-done-that, what’s-the-point way to start the new year.

One question intrudes even though I keep pushing it out of my mind in the quest for hope and optimism: Since I’m back to this, is this where I’ll always remain?

Answer: Hopefully not; it must not be; perish the thought. But funny how the question persists, buzzing at me like a pesky fly.

I’ve decided that for the New Year I’ve got to ease up on Lisa the Writer and get back to being Lisa the Whole Person. This will help, I think.

Blogger Awards, Two of Them!

Wow, okay, so DeAnna Cameron, debuting novelist, and oh over at Oh! Books…Paper…Real Life…  notified me that I’d won blogger awards. Two different blogger awards, which makes this post a little tricky…Hm…

The rules for the awards are basically the same, so I’m going to combine them. If I list you,  please pass on your kudos to your favorite bloggers using whichever award you want! Both awards were created to promote fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

Inspiration Award

inspirationawardoh listed me for the Inspiration Award (picturing Marie Antoinette). It is an award for blogs that you find inspiring. Thanks, oh!

 1. Please put the logo of the award (above) on your blog if you can make it work with your format.

2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.

3. Nominate  7 or more blogs.

4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog.

5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them.


Prémio Dardos Award

premiodardosDeAnna listed me for the Prémio Dardos, which is Italian for “Prize Darts.” This award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web. Thanks, DeAnna!

1. Accept the award by posting on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2. Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they’ve been selected for this award.

I  hereby express my gratitude and affection to the following bloggers. (DeAnna and oh: not listing you but would have otherwise!) These are in no particular order.

1. The Third Eve: Eve’s understanding about human nature and psychology gets me thinking every time.

2. Shrinking Violet Promotions: This is an author website about marketing for introverts.  Marketing for introverts! Gotta love it.

3. Sandi Kahn Shelton, novelist: She simply writes so well. This in itself inspires me.

4. Bloglily: I’m looking forward to reading Bloglily’s fiction because I feel good after reading her blog. I imagine her fiction will be filled with the same warmth and understanding as her blog.

5. Elizabeth Engstrom, novelist: She’s wise and she’s a good friend. I like the way she thinks.

6.  Susan Wiggs, bestselling romance author, is a cheerful person. She’s an antidote to my bad moods!

7. Distraction no. 99: Reading her blog is so voyeuristic. She’s a writer who puts it all out there, her self-doubts, her angsts, her snags. It’s amazing really.

8. Murderati: This is a crew of publishing crime writers who together provide a varied and fascinating view into the working novelist’s life. Plus, lots of wisdom about the business!

9.  Merely Me’s Writing to Survive: This woman’s got some stuff going on! I’m inspired because she’s honest about her health issues and because since I met her in Bloggerland she’s gone on to write columns/posts for other sites and expand her blog. 

I’m only listing 9 because it’s too difficult to choose amongst the bloggers I pop in on. Plus, I’ll be honest, I haven’t been hitting the blogosphere as much as usual in the last couple of months — distracted by life and holidays — but writing this post reminds me how much I’m missing!

Writing my Christmas Cards

eeyore-copyI can’t help but laugh at myself when it comes to writing Christmas cards. I know we’re supposed to be merry and hopeful, but I love to write a good old-fashioned downer of a card. I mean, this is my life, right? Why do I have to be merry?

If I’m not ending the year on a high note, why fake it?

Plus, writing about my conflicts, self-doubts, angsts, and all that jazz is more fun. It’s like writing stories with good conflicts. Who wants to read a novel about a happy single girl? I’ll tell you: no one.

And speaking of storytelling in whatever format it takes, my stats have gone up on this here blog since my troubles began on November 21st. Why? Because people like stories with conflicts. Seems so obvious. But I’m not going to milk my woes for the sake of stats, just so you know.

Back to Christmas cards: I’ve received plenty of favorable reviews on them over the years. Some of my friends look forward to my cards. I can imagine some of them thinking, What kind of train wreck is Lisa going to describe this year? Must be a hoot for them, and I admit I play it up a little. I mean, I’m a writer, I can do that for the sake of fun and drama.

Problem with that is that some folks might get to feeling sorry for me. That poor Lisa, what a pathetic life. But I don’t care. I like writing my downer Christmas cards…

I was thinking about all this last night after reading the following on One Word, One Rung, One Day, a blog well worth checking out. Being that I was in the middle of writing Christmas cards, I cracked up, I couldn’t help it!

“Why is it the only time you hear the word tidings is during the holidays and in reference to the song. Can you have tiding of something besides joy? I think I’m going to wait until March or April and when something makes me mad I’m going to say I offer you tiding of pain and discomfort. Or the next time Whataburger screws up my meat and cheese only burger I might ask the doofus behind the counter, “Have you been snacking on tidings of stupidity again?” “

I always did have a special fondness for Eeyore.

On Honesty in Blogging, Part 2

(Continued from yesterday’s post.)

And you think: poor baby, a real job. But I’ll die a slow death of the soul. I can feel it already. I’ll have to give up my fiction for the most part. My fiction will become the thing I try to fit in, like a hobby, and that feels so wrong to me. So wrong. That’s not what my soul wants to do: FIT IN the fiction. No.

The 9-to-5 world sucks me dry. Maybe it’s my temperament, maybe it’s the florescent lighting, but it really does sap me of energy. I never did get much fiction accomplished during my salaried days. I don’t know how Bloglily and Nova do it, frankly. I have a lower energy threshold, I suppose, and that’s what I have to accomodate to get the fiction in–which is why I put myself at risk outside the system, so I’d have sufficient quiet time plus sufficient writing time.

At the moment, it feels like the risks haven’t been worth it, feels like I’ve given up a whole helluva lot (my life, basically) for the fiction. Feels like I’ll never have anything to show for the sacrifice. How’s this for wallowing and honesty in blogging?

Obviously, I’m emotional right now. The rawness will pass, but I’m depressive, too, so I hope I don’t fall into that stupor over the rest of the winter.

Even as I write this, I know that I’ll adjust as necessary to keep a roof over my head. It’s just that I hate feeling shriveled down to survivalism. I’ve never worried about money before. I’ve never felt that anxiety before. I’ve never felt the pull of money at odds with the pull of my dreams. Going for fiction never felt like risky behavior until now. I always assumed it would happen.

If this is a process, then I’m in the midst of just another obstacle, right? A deep and wide obstacle, but only an obstacle. If this is so, why does it feel like the end of my dreams?

The economy will improve, money will free up again, but that’s THEN, this is now.

On Honesty in Blogging, Part 1

This blog, it’s supposed to be an honest reflection of my writing life. It’s supposed to highlight my thoughts on craft, my fiction-writing trials and tribulation, my bumpy road toward publication. I thought my blog might inspire other fledgling novelists. I thought it might inspire because I was optimistic that the low points would be the run-of-the-mill frustrations. I even count the literary-agent setback in that category because it’s a common story.

But now, I’m in a bad way, a very bad way, and here’s where it’s hard to be honest. It’s making my soul clench to have to write this — and maybe I want to cry just a little — but I honestly don’t know if publication is going to happen for me. I might have to quit my dream, or at least sideline it for a long while. But sidelining it feels like quitting.

I feel weak and fearful right now. I’m not used to feeling like this. I don’t like it.

I thought I’d be well on my way toward publication by now. I had two years worth of stored money (most of it by way of the writing grant mentioned in the sidebar) to see me safely through to a contract. Hah–that’s VERY optimistic, I know. I thought at the very least, no problem, because I’ve never had trouble finding part-time freelance work.

The reason this post is difficult to write is because it’s all about money. Every struggling artist’s nemesis. Who likes to be honest about that? It’s yucky.

I’m in a bad, bad way. I had money to last me until July 2009. I had two freelance jobs lined up for right know, lucrative jobs that would help fill the coffers so I could continue on past July 2009 in this writing life of mine. Who knew when I quit my job in July 2007 that everything would go to hell?

The freelance jobs never happened. The bad economy sucked them dry as well as most of my remaining grant money.

I realized my dire financial straits this morning. It hit me like a massive coronary. And since the optimal freelance jobs have dwindled, I found myself looking at ACTUAL JOB ads within my previous career: technical writing.

Ugh, I’m getting so depressed thinking about this–I’ll continue my train of thought tomorrow.

Tiny Blog Break

Just until next week. Not feeling chatty at the moment, plus busy Thanksgiving weekend coming up. I’m looking forward to the busy-ness, which will be people-oriented. This, I think, will do me good. Get outside myself, you know what I mean?

And, yum, turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pie!