Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Rocking the neurotic writing world with Alex Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writing Support Group (you can check out the group and participants here) . First Wednesday of every month.

You know? I like puzzles.  I do.

I like finding the pieces and fitting them in and making a picture. It’s fun. I feel the same about creating a necklace out of a pile of multicolored beads and bits of metal pieces. It’s fun to create a pretty or even a funky design. I do the same with earrings. Bits and pieces can be fun to put into a whole and make it something else, something lovely.

Bits and pieces aren’t so much fun in editing. It’s the same premise. You have various
Victorian necklace and bracelet
pieces and it should be a matter of combining them into a whole picture. Adding bits of this and that to get a harmonious whole. Something with impact. A piece of work to take pride in.

Except…it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes the pieces develop teeth and attack you.

I wrote a trilogy back a few years ago. This was a story that stretched me. It was fun to let her rip and go for it. I challenged my writing chops for sure. Still, I was okay with it all. I knew it had good bones just as I knew it had a lot of stuff that wasn’t needed.

When I went to edit it, after the critiques, I had a path but I was new to this type of editing. It was a bit daunting but I knew I could do it and that it would be better for the hard work. There were parts of it that actually needed rewriting and that would mean changing chunks of the other two stories as well. So I took it apart. The chapters have been unstrung from the whole and even some of the chapters are in unstrung sections. It’s all in it’s own file. It has research files to compliment the design and some sparkly pieces to add impact.

So why is it still in pieces? Good question.

Cutting the extraneous wasn’t that hard. Trying to re-thread those chapters was overwhelming. I couldn’t understand why I was having such problems with clear thinking. I knew what I needed to do and it wasn’t like I was new to editing. But for some reason this project steamrolled me. Pancake flat. I had not a clue how to change that. The harder I tried the worse it became. I couldn’t understand why. It was seriously affecting my confidence and taking away the joy I’ve always felt creating and writing. Of course part of it was I was getting sick and I didn’t realize it. I was losing clarity of thought but didn’t know it at the time. I struggled on and made a mess of it. I looked at all the pieces of what had once been whole and cried over the devastating mess I had left. All those bits and pieces mocking me.

I put it away for a bit and wrote other things some good and some not. I was trying, and perhaps too hard, to recapture that flow and joy of writing. Concentration was becoming harder and my attention span shorter and there were days I swore gnats had a longer attention span. You know the thoughts that go through your mind at times like that. You’re a what? A writer? Queue maniacal derisive laughter. And no one does mocking quite as well as our inner critic.

That was a bit over two years ago. The past few months my creative mind has been sneaky and reworking things in that series again. I’ve even dreamed about it. It’s itching to tackle it. But, I still haven’t opened that file. 

Fear? Sure. A lot of not so great things happened during the initial editing phase of that series and are all tied into that file.

I’m smart enough to know you have to face your fears and that usually those fears are much bigger in our minds than in reality. I’ve fallen off horses, broken bones, and faced stupid and humiliation. There is a certain repulsion in facing that horse and all the possibilities of a repeat performance. But I also knew if I didn’t get back into the saddle I wouldn’t ride again. I can’t live that way. I’m not one to let fear of what if or possibility of pain hold me back. I’m not reckless but it’s a challenge I have to face and conquer even if I’m shaking in my boots. Always been that way.

Well, I’m again shaking in my boots but I know me. I know how my creative mind works. I know it’s giving me warning that resistance is futile because we will be opening that file.

Conquer or be conquered. 

I know which role I prefer.


Monday, February 3, 2014


I've got a bunch of tests and stuff to do Monday and a full day of work Saturday and Sunday. Rather than wrap my (already stressed out) brain around something new I decided to re-run an article I wrote back in 2009. That was a year of lots of snow, too. My son is now 3 weeks shy of 19 and my Gidget is 5 but the subject is as appropriate this year as it was in 2009. Hope you enjoy it. I'll be around Wednesday with IWSG.

When I was a kid, snow days were the thing to look forward to.  A time for laugher and fun.  No school, snowball fights, snow forts, and using the shovels—after we had shoveled the driveway—and making snow paths in the yard.  We used these as trenches in our warfare games.  The not so fun part of snow days was my mom and her list of chores.  I now know this was self-defense on her part.  It was a way keep six rambunctious kids occupied.  Needless to say, we didn’t often whine, “I’m bored and I’ve got nothing to do.”  Lord, big mistake and The List came out.

Snow days at my house are a bit different.  First, I don’t have six kids, thank God, to keep occupied.  Back then we stayed outside or found adventures of “lets pretend that…” in our bedroom or the third story attic.  I have one child. A game of Uno only goes so far.  Snowboarding outside takes up a few hours, if I’m lucky.  Snowball fights still happen but it’s the kid and me. He has TV, movies, 360 Xbox, paper and art supplies, and shelf full of books.  I have a computer and projects to get done.  Articles to write, books to finish, books to edit.  Did I mention editing? 

This is a normal workweek for me. I’m trying to keep to my schedule. Four days of no school and a husband who can’t get to work either. It’s vacation time for them.  I’m in a groove and I have, not one but two, housebound males wandering around bored.  I am not bored.  I have plenty to do.  I get up from the computer for a short fifteen-minute break and stretch out my tight muscles, go to the bathroom and get a cup a coffee. My mind is on what I’m writing, working out the kinks mentally, and walk back into my office and there’s my husband checking out Fox Sports.  We do have a working TV.

“Oh, I thought you were done?” 

I’m dumbfounded.  You can tell, dropped jaw, wide eyes, standing frozen in the doorway. 

He can tell.  “You’re not done?”

“Sweetheart, what part of five open tabs on the computer monitor makes you think I’m done?”  I always try for the sweet, reasonable approach first. 

So I decide to take out the dog, clear my head in the cold outside air and rid myself of frustration.  It’s beautiful outside.  The type of day that brings back echoes of laughing kids, snowball fights and snow forts.  I feel a pull on the leash and bring my mind back to today just in time to see my poor Great Dane trying to do her business and ever so slowly slide down the incline.  This is her first winter and she’s still learning her way on this white stuff. The look on her face is priceless and I can’t help but laugh. It feels good.  I’m feeling better, which is a good thing.

I walk back into the house; breathe a sigh of relief when I see my husband watching TV.  I walk into my office.  And there is my fourteen-year-old son.  At my computer.

            “Oh, I thought you were done?”

Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be a long week.  Sigh.