Monday, July 25, 2011

Today was a good day!

It started with the poor spider in the side mirror.  A friend needed a ride to her mechanic to pick up her car. (They were willing to shuttle her to her house, but as she's getting out of the shuttle, the driver says, "By the way, you're too far away, so I can't come back to pick you up."  What the hell, really guys?)  I pack the baby in the car seat, grab the diaper bag, and boogie on out of the driveway.

At the very first light, I notice a desperate spider (dark grey, with zebra striped legs, a big fat orb body and little tiny head, about 2.5 cm across.) bouncing frantically in what was left of the web he'd built between the side mirror and the window on the driver's side.  (Yes, I am completely oblivious sometimes.)  I felt bad for the poor spider as he clung to the web which was shredding around him, and started driving more slowly so as not to bounce the spider completely off the line.

Unfortunately for the spider, red lights were few and far between.  I kept telling him to duck back in the side mirror, but he kept taking the few pauses available to run up and down the web instead.  I realized that he was dismantling his web, rolling up a little white ball of silk in between bounces.  The next light, he made it into the side mirror, tucking his head and legs in tightly, with his big round butt hanging out.  I felt like cheering.

I guess the economy is so bad even the spiders are saving their silk.  It's silly but I felt uplifted by the spider triumphant.

I also got to the gym for the first time since giving birth and took a Zumba class.  I managed to make it through the entire class without gassing out - a huge relief given my fears about completely losing any muscle tone or stamina over the pregnancy - and didn't trip or fall into anyone. 

Last time I was at the gym about 5 months ago, the Zumba class was fairly well attended by maybe 20-30 people.  Today, I was handed a ticket with the number 52 on it.  Upon inquiring, it turns out that the class is now so popular that they cut off attendance at 60, and if you don't get a ticket, you don't get in.  People line up to get in 30 minutes before the class starts in order to make sure they get a ticket. I am going to have to start going a bit earlier.

So the spider survived, my ass is not as flabby as first feared, and the baby has been sleeping for the last 3 hours straight.   It's the little things. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Inspiration hits like a MACK truck sometimes.

So I had written my mystery novel.  I'm bad at outlining.  I'm more of a write as the mood and whim takes me sort of author, which is something I've had to work on quite a bit.  It's a terrible struggle for me to impose discipline on my writing.

I had a sort of mini-problem in the beginning, which I dwelt on for 20 pages, before getting deep into the actual heart of my mystery.  And I never came back to that mini-problem.  And every reader I had, said they enjoyed it, but they kept waiting for that mini-problem to come back and be important.  And it never did.

And deep down, I knew that was a problem.  But I couldn't figure out how to weave it in, or make it more relevant than as a backdrop to introduce my main characters and provide some action.

Last night, I had a dream about the book, and I realized that my main villain needed to be the one character I mentioned the least.  I saw instantly how to re-write and re-weave the book so that both plots were related and relevant.  And unfortunately, it's going to involve a huge ginormous rewrite.  But it will work, I think.

I'm having to start entirely over (though granted, I do have the large chunks of text written that I can use and paste where possible.)  but I think the book will be better and stronger for it.  And now that I can see my way forward to that better book, I'm feeling inspired all over again.

I'd been so tempted just to fling it out into the agentsphere, but the other day I read a fantastic post on a great agent blog about how you shouldn't submit hoping that the agent will fix the problems with your book, and it hit me square between the eyes.  So.. Here goes.  Again.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's been a crazy six months

I've given my novel to my writer's group and gotten it back with their critiques.

I've given birth to my daughter, who is now five weeks old.

My mother-in-law has for all intents and purposes moved in with us.  (The idea was that she would move in to provide childcare since me and the husb both were working at the time.)

I got laid off (RIF'd really.) from my job. (Along with the entire accounting & administrative staff, bar one poor soul who has taken on all the admin / accounting functions that had to remain on site.)

The animal count in my house went up by two (admittedly fairly well behaved) chihuahuas.

And I'm trying to decide where I want the priorities for my time to be, because I'm rapidly discovering that item number two on this list is eating time like a mad thing.

Work on the novel?  Get the yard / house projects that have been pending for "when I have time".  Go gung-ho on SCA heavy combat and hope to turn into a decent fighter someday?  Work on the other writing projects I have pottering around?  Get my scribal backlog of calligraphy & illumination pieces caught up?  Fill my house with Baby Einstein stuff and start trying to teach my daughter to read Chinese by age 1?  (This would be quite a trick, as I can't read Chinese either.)

I am still job searching, but the last time I was in this position, I was seriously angry with myself for all the hours I wasted being depressed and moping around the house.  (I did write most of the novel while I wasn't working but I still wasted a great deal of time.)

I've got to be more effective this time around, since my time is allocated in two hour increments between diapers and feedings.  So I'm going to carefully figure out what's important to me this time, and set aside blocks of time for each thing I want to do.  Hopefully it will work.