All work and no play…something something.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that you have to be willing to put in hard work and dedication if you want to accomplish something. I’m not the most hard-working or dedicated person in the world (ha!), but a few months ago I made a promise to myself that I was going to finish that damn zombie story if it killed me, and low and behold, I did it! With that same level of hard work and dedication I hope to, soon enough, edit the hell out of that story and get it published. Diligence!

But there’s one other thing I know for sure, and it’s this: sometimes you have to goof off too. Remember that thing about all work and no play? We all know how that turned out in The Shining, don’t we?

We all have to let loose every now and then, whether it be partying with friends, taking a trip, splurging on a treat for yourself, or whatever strikes your fancy. For me, I want to continue working on my zombie novel, but I also feel that I need (and deserve) to goof off a bit. That’s why I’m taking a couple of weeks to play around with my Final Fantasy fanfic. If there’s one thing that feels like goofing around to a writer, it’s writing your own version of a world that already exists.

Once I catch up to the point I left it off at (there were a few editing issues in the first couple of chapters), I’ll start posting it to again and link it here. But for now, a question: what do you do to ‘goof off’ when you need a break from ‘hard work and dedication’?

Strike one entry off the bucket list

Today is a very special day for me. June 7th, 2012, approximately 1:00 pm. Mark that date and time down.

What’s so special about this date? It’s not a holiday, nor is it someone’s birthday, or a special occasion like an anniversary. In fact, it’s a pretty normal, even boring day. I’m sitting on the loveseat in my living room, my husband is on his computer up in the bedroom, and the baby is out cold on her pile of pillows on the living room floor. When we three got up this morning we had breakfast (grapes and a granola bar for the baby, coffee for the parents), and we went to playgroup for a couple of hours. It’s windy and chilly outside and looks like it can’t decide whether or not it wants to rain.

So again, what is so special about this date?

I mentioned before, more than once I believe, that I’d never finished any story I ever set out to write, with the exception of one short fanfiction. Today, as of approximately 1 o’clock this afternoon, I can no longer make that claim. Today, I wrote the final words, an epilogue, to my zombie novel, Nowhere to Hide.

Don’t get me wrong…the manuscript is not complete. There is editing to be done, some discontinuities that need to be addressed, some scenes may be omitted completely, and new ones could very well be added. But for all intents and purposes, I have a finished novel. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It has lots of (I hope) interesting characters, and plenty of conflict, suspense, and emotion. It may have some errors and some scenes that don’t stand up to critique, but it is a complete story that, if read, will make sense. It concludes.

I cannot express the level of excitement this fills me with. Let me repeat this point once more: this is the first fully original story I have ever written, beginning to end. How freakin’ awesome is that? I know for a lot of people editing is the worst part of writing, but right now it seems like a happy daydream because I have a completed story to edit!

Look out, world! This novel is one major step closer to being published, and this writer is one immense step closer to earning the title of ‘author’.

15 Day Book Challenge – Day 3

Day 3- Your favorite author and favorite book by them

If you asked me a year ago I’d probably say Stephen King and his more recent book, Under the Dome, which was a particularly interesting and creepy story.

These days if we’re going to talk about favorite authors, I’m going to have to go with R.R. Martin. The thing is, I can’t give you my favorite book because I’ve technically only read the one so far…that is, A Game of Thrones, the first in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. How can I choose Martin as my favorite author when I’ve only read one of his books? If you’d read the book yourself you probably wouldn’t be asking that question. I am positively amazed at this man’s ability to interweave a fistful of different plots while keeping track of dozens of characters in a vast world full of a slew of different cities, lands, beliefs, creatures, and any number of things I’m forgetting. As I was reading A Game of Thrones I couldn’t help picturing Martin in a huge room with nothing but a writing desk and a multitude of hand-drawn/written maps, character descriptions, and plot trees covering every inch of the walls, ceiling, and floor. I just can’t fathom any other way that someone could possibly create such a tapestry of information while still making the story genuinely good and fun and interesting. Kudos, R.R. Martin. Freakin’ kudos.

30 Days of Truth – Day 30

A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

Dammit, there’s that word “love” again. Didn’t I already explain in one of these how there aren’t many things that I love about myself? Not to sound all self-loathing or anything, it’s just that I don’t think the word “love” expresses how I feel about myself. So let’s just tone it down a bit, okay?

I like my eyes. They’re nothing overly special, and the color has changed over time to a duller, less interesting shade, but I still like them. I think they’re my prettiest feature.

Staying on the physical side of things, I also like my shoulders/upper back. Maybe a strange choice, but this area of my body seems to be the one area that refuses to gather fat. No matter what weight I’m at during any given time, I always find that my shoulders and upper back look great. Call me nuts, but I just think so!

I like the way I make my daughter’s day just by filling a bottle with juice or splashing her while she’s in the tub. On a similar note I like how I can just sit down and play with blocks with her and feel completely content because playing with blocks with my daughter is awesome.

I like the way I write. Logically I know I’m not the best writer; I have some bad habits, and there are things I’ll never get used to (someone remind me again, what’s the difference between its and it’s?). But regardless, I personally like my own writing. I enjoy reading my own writing, and I think that’s a pretty important step to becoming an author, because if you don’t like your own writing, how can you expect other people to?

I’m going to stop with those four because they’re the things that come most immediately to mind, and I see no sense in sitting here all day trying to come up with what might be considered a decent-sized list. Let’s just say I like myself. I might not love myself, and I definitely have bad days sometimes when I almost hate myself, but in the end I do genuinely like myself, and I think that’s just fine.

“What do you want to be?”

We start asking children what they want to be when they grow up long before they’ve had enough world experience to really be able to answer the question. We think it’s cute to see what they say, but we generally don’t put a lot of stock in their answer.

I started telling people that I wanted to be a writer back in the third grade, and that answer hasn’t really changed even now that I’m almost twenty years older, married, a mother, and trained in a very technical/industrial field. When it came time to go to college I ignored my desire to become an author and defaulted to my other interest – technology – because it seemed like the smarter financial choice. After all, in order to make any money as an author you have to be really good, and really lucky, right? Yet here I sit, having been unemployed for the past four months due to my company being shut down and in the process of being sold, and I can’t help but chuckle a little. I went for my second choice of career so I could be more financially stable, and I received the exact opposite.

It may not be a reason to completely overhaul my life and start from scratch (after all, the company is being sold and could be running again any day now), but I do think it’s a lesson in not making assumptions. I gave up on the idea of being a professional writer because I figured I’d never be good enough or lucky enough to succeed. What I see now is that I just wasn’t willing to¬†try, because trying can lead to failure. It’s a cowardly way to do things. And as with anything, you have to face your fears in order to truly succeed.

Maybe I’ll become an author yet.