Friday, June 24, 2011

Morning Writing

Baby Girl Doll woke me up at four this morning. I fed her until about 4:45, at which point I told her that it was time we both admitted that she wasn't actually getting any milk and put her back in bed. I really wanted to go back to bed myself, but as I was drifting off to sleep I had a quick self-meeting and decided to be a go-getter. Sleep is for the weak! I hauled myself out of bed, ate a peach, and began slamming away on the keyboard. I worked from 5:06 to 6:07 and wrote 2066 words.

Morning writing is a dilemma for me because I don't feel that I'm at my best in the morning, but I love knowing that I've finished the most important and most challenging task for the day before anyone else has even gotten up. My days seem to go so much more smoothly when I start them with a thousand words. I hope that if I keep doing it, I'll start feeling like I'm able to bring my A game every morning.

I want to build up my stamina. It would be awesome if I could go for a whole two hours and get four thousand words, but after an hour, my fingers start fumbling the keys. Right now, for instance, I'm having to type really slowly or go back and fix almost every word. I wonder if that's fatigue or what.

I'm also wondering if my character is annoying. She's a really rich, three-dimensional character (at least in my head), but at the beginning of the book she has a couple fairly nasty encounters with something of which she has a serious phobia, and I'm wondering if she's going to come across as weak and/or irritating because she's spending so much time screeching and/or needing help. We'll see. I've got a couple of other conflicts in which she conducts herself with some measure of strength. We'll see if they're enough to balance out the girly hysteria of the other scenes.

6:15 AM and not a soul awake. What to do? What to do?

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Love Irises

The house on the corner has a gorgeous iris bed over which I sigh every time I drive past. I, on the other hand, managed to kill all the purple irises in my own modest bed by digging them up and storing them in water while waiting to transplant them. Yes, water. I was a moron; there's no excuse. I tried to buy more irises online, but I soon realized that iris starts are really expensive. It would cost upwards of a hundred bucks to replace the ones I'd destroyed.

So the other day, I was driving past the iris-house and I noticed a small hand-printed sign on orange cardstock. Being the yard sale aficionado that I am, I craned my neck to read it, and I nearly drove into the ditch when I saw what it said. "Free iris starts."

Iris starts? Free???

It took me an entire weekend to get up my courage to knock, but today I had a moment of carpe dieming, so I pulled into their driveway, and the sweetest lady opened the door before I had even knocked.

It was awesome. They had decided they couldn't keep up with their iris beds, and they'd decided the most efficient way to get the beds cleaned out was to offer free iris rhizomes to anyone who wanted to dig them up. There were at least 12 different colors, and I left with several rhizomes of dark purple, purple, lavender, white tinged with lavender, orange, light blue, yellow, and mauve. I stocked all three of my flower beds and have enough leftover to share with my neighbor, my mom, and my sister.

Any day that includes improving my flower beds is a good day, and today was fantastic.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm just not a very good blogger. Sure, I have lots of opinions and experiences, but who doesn't? I'm not sure mine are worth writing about.

We just installed air conditioning. It's a ridiculous extravagance, but it keeps the house cool, and it smells good.

I like to try things, particularly things about which people make big claims, mostly because I'm curious and I want to see what they're like and if they really work.

I've tried:

  • Selling Mary Kay. It was a disaster. It totally does not sell itself.
  • Both natural and medicated childbirth. Natural all the way. It's way more painful, but delivery and recovery are super fast. My last kid was seventeen minutes from the hospital door to baby's arrival. Plus, I'm more in control. Speed and being in control are important to me.
  • Those things that promise free gift cards for trying certain products. Awesome. I had to read up on them a lot to catch all the gotchas and rules, but once I got them, I made a few thousand bucks from the programs. (But don't go rushing out and try them now. They've closed all the loopholes that allowed the programs to be profitable.)
  • Square foot gardening. Loved it. The soil was super expensive, though, and lasagna gardening did not keep my quack grass from taking over said super-expensive soil.
  • That thing at Lagoon where you strap yourself in a ball and get thrown a bajillion feet in the air. Awesome, but not awesome enough to be worth the price of admission or the risk of leaving my mommyless.
  • Weight Watchers. Worked for me but not for my breastfeeding baby. The doctor said 1500 calories was plenty for both of us, but it was not.
I really want to try:
  • That pedicure where tiny fish eat your dead skin.
  • That herb that makes everything taste super sweet.
And now I want to try this Mary Kay makes-your-face-magic serum. It's taken me several years (like seven?) to get over the horror that was my stint in Mary Kay enough to admit that they might actually have some decent products. My mom was raving about this stuff she tried, so I looked it up on It actually has pretty good reviews. And believe me, if you've been wearing skin in Idaho for thirty years, you pay attention to the possibility that something will fix damaged skin. Problem is--55 bucks for a month's supply? Um. . . no. However, I have a friend (or two. Because I'm popular like that.) who will sell it to me at cost. I might just try it. Then I'll have something else to post about.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Which I Hate Michael R. Collings

Dear Mr. Collings,

Your book The Slab is torturing me. See, when I start to read a well-written book, which yours is, a tiny bit of me gets trapped in that book's world until I finish it. If it's a fun world, reading the book can be an exhilarating race, a leisurely stroll, a mellow basking, depending on the book. If it's a horrible world, reading the book is more like an exorcism. (That's why I read "The Road," in one sitting. I had to get the heck out of there.) Guess which of the two types your world is.

Unfortunately, it was my husband who bought your book at CONduit 2011, so when he suggested that we read it together, I had no choice but to agree. And it's slow! We can read one, maybe two, chapters a night before bed (yes, before bed, so thanks for that), and it's going to take me forever to finish the book, during which time a small part of me will be trapped in 1066 Oleander. I am very tempted to lie to my husband and finish the book without him, but I have a feeling the house would frown on marital deceit.

Mr. Collings, what are you doing to me?


Heidi Tighe

PS: We just finished the scene with Brady and Kyle, and now I hate you even more.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mwa ha!

In accordance with yesterday's realization that really all I can do if I want to be a writer is write and try to muddle my way through writing well later, I dragged myself out of bed at quarter to six to spit out a thousand words. A thousand words seems to be a magic number. If I'd been faithful about writing a thousand words a day since CONduit last year, I'd've written 365,ooo words thus far. That's a third of the magic million. That's 4 or 5 YA novels. In that time, I would have HAD to improve somewhat, right? Right?

I started my current WIP over. Again. I think this is the fifth time. But this time I have to stick with it. I may not go back and start over, no matter how bad and lumbering I think it is.

But really, experienced writers give some pretty bad advice on this front. There's the famous, "Books aren't written, they're rewritten," but there's also the equally famous, "The book's end should be inevitable from its beginning." Which is it? Does the beginning have to be perfect or not?! It's this conundrum that gets hapless wannabees like me writing the beginning of every book six different times and crying when they go to bed because it's still not good enough, whatever form good enough takes.

But anyway, I wrote a thousand words, and that feels pretty good. That gives me permission to focus on being a mom for the rest of the day. I can write if I want to, but if I don't want to, I'm off the hook. Mwa ha.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Just Had a Thought

Lately, I've begun to believe that instead of trying to become proficient at things they're clearly not good at, people should try to leverage the things that they are good at in order to make up the gap. (This is based on a lot of evidence that shows that if you're not already good at something, even intense study will yield only marginal improvement.)

It just occurred to me, though, that by trying so hard to outline, that's exactly what I'm doing--I'm playing to my weaknesses instead of to my strengths. The reason I want to outline is so that I don't waste a bunch of time and energy writing something when I'm just going to have to go back and write a whole bunch of new/additional/substitute stuff anyway, yet generating text quickly is actually what I'm good at. So why have I been trying to outline, which I'm not good at, in order to avoid having to create more text, which I am good at?

It's because I have an efficiency compulsion, that's why. But I'm going to try abandoning it and just writing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I'm Not Really a Journey Kind of Gal

I'm not really a journey kind of gal. I like destinations. I set measurable, predictable goals (some big, some small), and I power through until I reach them. This attitude is not helpful in the non-predictable, non-measurable field of writing, but I can't seem to change it. Maybe I should create an artificial goal toward which I can power through because trying to convince myself that it's all about the journey of writing isn't working for me.