Monday, January 28, 2019

A New Kind of Birthday Song

I’m completely immersed in Birthday Land here at my house. Three girls. All born within the past eight days. And we do birthdays up around here. Signs. Special dinners. Desserts. The works. Needless to say, my mom muscles have had quite a workout lately.

Thought it might be fun to post a song I’ve really been feeling lately.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Sparking Some Real Joy

Some of you may remember my obsession with finding a home for my books. I posted about it a few months ago. After putting my brain to work, I decided to establish a reading nook inside a hall closet. 

I haven’t had built-in bookshelves in the past two homes we’ve moved into. I missed seeing my books. Yeah, I know. I realize this has the potential to sound a little strange.

But people, here’s the thing (nod to Marie Kondo), my books bring me joy.

You should have seen how giddy I was when a new idea came to me—a new home for my books. And what’s even better—I created a library/craft area all in one.

A few days ago, I jumped on the project train and tackled our garage. We still had boxes everywhere, as well as all other kinds of miscellaneous items. I stacked. I sorted. I purged. I rearranged. I even painted multiple coats on the existing dingy brown shelves already tucked nicely in one corner. Then I began the process of reinventing the space. Sometimes I get so in a zone when I’m in the midst of these type of projects I neglect to take a before picture, but man, I wish you could see the difference. I’m not sure I’ve ever smiled so much while working on home project.

Say hello to my new library/craft room. Hello, books. Hello, space to be creative. Hello, pictures and memorabilia that bring me joy. I plan to keep transforming this area, but I’m thrilled with the initial results.

I hope you’re having a reflective and meaningful MLK day!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Do Your Book a Favor

The world has become rotten at waiting well. It’s as though we can no longer fathom the concept of delayed gratification. We want it, and we want it now. Over two minutes standing in line, we grow fidgety and outwardly irritated. We even resent others if their line appears to be moving faster. I witness this behavior all the time lately when I leave the house. On the roads. In stores. Even at sporting events. No one wants to wait and we’ve all seemed to lose the ability to wait well.

As an author who’s gone hard at this writing thing for over eleven years, I’ve learned there’s great value in biding time. Not only does learning to wait well serve you as a person (teaching patience, priorities, and contentment in all circumstances), it’s also invaluable for the life of a book.

So much can germinate when you grant a book time to become all it’s supposed to. Plot has the opportunity to develop. Initial pages strengthen. Characters can take center stage or die off entirely. As a prolific writer who can tackle a rough draft in three to four months, I’m always keeping this in mind—the idea of allowing a novel room and time to grow. I remind myself I’m not in a rush. The book is not in a hurry. Just the other day a new beginning to my WIP snuck up on me. Because I’ve given this book room to breathe, it’s doing exactly that—breathing. Opening me up to an enriched, textured sense of all it’s to become.

Sometimes it helps to view my role as a writer and the novel I’m working on as a cuckoo clock. The bird announces the passage of time several moments throughout the day. Those are the high points. The debut release. The day you secure an agent. But so much of a writing career and a book’s life is what happens during those other minutes—the preparation. Some cuckoo clocks have music that plays leading up to and following the bird’s appearance. Others have turning water wheels and animated figures. No matter what features a cuckoo clock may possess, the guarantee is that there’s always important work going on (hands turning) behind the scenes. A lot of good waiting. Groundwork. A scene being set. An idea fermenting. Maturity taking root. Whether it applies to your growth as an individual or the development of your book, the moment of the big reveal matters, but equally significant is what’s happening during all those other seconds.

This industry will present plenty opportunities for you to wait. Wait well, and offer your book the same gift.

Monday, January 7, 2019

I Get to Do This

New year. New goals. Same calling. Same blessed calling. If you’ve visited here before, you may have sensed I’m a little passionate about perspective. The way we approach life has the ability to influence how content we are. In recent days, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my vocation—my stick-to-it-ness regarding writing. Glenn Close put a powerful punctuation on my thoughts with her Golden Globes award speech last night.

“I feel what I learned through this whole experience . . . we are women and nurturers . . . we have our children, and our husbands if we are lucky enough, our partners, whoever,” Close said. “But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams.”

I haven’t always devoted hours a day developing characters and reimagining plot twists. I’ve waitressed, answered phones, and been responsible for planning an event where Bill Gates was the keynote speaker. I’ve strategized marketing plans, changed diapers, and managed a waterpark. I hate waterparks…not sure what I was thinking taking that job. But I can assert, without a hint of doubt, my time dedicated to writing, building stories, has been the most fulfilling.

I get to do this. I get to wake up and take care of my kids, while simultaneously working out how to strengthen my main character. I get to prepare meals and put away shoes for the one hundredth time, quickly stopping myself so I have enough time to race and jot down the running dialogue in my head. I get to invent stories. Bring people to life. Hurt and help them. Transform them. Teach through them. Learn from them.

I get to open up a world all the while understanding that world will someday soon transfer from my hands into yours. There’s nothing in the world that compares to writing for me. It regenerates me. Rejuvenates me. It reminds me I’m alive and my life has meaning.

I start 2019 dedicated to the same blessed calling and I couldn’t be any more grateful. Because of my family’s support and so much more, I get to do this.

What do you get to do?

Taking Time

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