Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Difference of a Day

Just since my last post I've pulled my novel manuscript up. Lo and behold, I've been making progress on it today! I guess all it took was making official mention of another big project and BOOM! my motivation is back. Although I know the encouraging comments I got here and on AW helped a bunch. (Thanks, gang.)

Notes on that new idea I mentioned have been filed away for later, but as it sits now I'm plowing ahead with the WIP. I can finish it. I will finish it. And I will find representation, as well.

To be continued...

Friday, December 28, 2007

In the Middle of the Ni-igh-ight

I was up uber late last night. *yawn* After running errands that took us an hour from home and a late dinner out with Hubby, we rolled up the driveway well past 10. Then thoughts for a new writing project took over and I pounded the keyboard until around 1 a.m. (CST). I tried to call it a night and go to bed but I kept having to flip the lamp on (much to the chagrin of my husband) and scribble in my notebook.

This morning (around toasting some Strudels for the girls, helping the little one with her potty training, and convincing the big one NOT to give away her own Barbie toys for a cousin's late Christmas gift) I'm debating how far I want to go with my new idea...

For long pieces of work, fiction has always been my preference. My new idea is for a non-fiction book, of sorts, kind of a huge version of my column. Part of me thinks it's a genius idea, because the general topic (motherhood) is one I write about well, and the chapter/section ideas have been flowing out of me. And it's fun! It's something I feel excited over, as opposed to my WIP, which is still stagnate.

My concern is... will moving on to a new project help or hinder my novel's progress? As it sits now (sits, literally) nothing is happening with it. I'm 35,ooo words in, which is too much to scrap, but if I start something else entirely will I ever want to go back? On the other hand, what if miss out on the potential opportunity this new idea brings? And what if working on it gives me the rejuvenating boost I need to finish the novel?

My fear is that I'll turn into one of those writers who has grand, new ideas regularly but never completes a work. I guess I won't know until I try. And I think I'd rather work on something than nothing at all. Given that I can't just make myself work through my novel's dry spell, I guess I'll forge ahead with the new concept. I do have my smaller projects and goals, as well, that I know will keep my brain moving regardless. Hopefully once I get some of these new thoughts out I can reassess where I am with each project and take it from there.

Wish me luck!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sure I'm Funny, Honest

I'm witty, I know I am. And not just in a room full of my own relatives, either. But I'm realizing most of my blog posts seem dry and bland. Ack, what was that?! *dives under desk, burying head and limbs* Wha? Jeez, I thought the house was under attack! *smoothes hair, straightens collar* But it was just my gassy four-year-old. Her fluffs always start out delicately enough, but when she leans back it reverberates loudly across her wooden stool like gunfire. Cripes.

Anyway, I got to thinking about how most of my posts have been straight-laced and to the point. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I do write a humor column about motherhood, and that sort of voice hasn't made much of an appearance here. I shall try to bring more oomph, more funny ha-ha to Something She Wrote.

It's not that I'm vowing to become the next great Ellen, because I'm not that funny. And I do want to continue discussing writing in general terms. But I want people to visit me and perhaps leave with a tip and a laugh. So I guess I'm still tweaking the feel of my blog.

Today's tip: Never end a sentence with a preposition.

Today's laugh: Knock, knock. <Who's there?> The interrupting cow. <The interrupting co--> MOO!

Ok, lame, I know. I'll work on the knock knock jokes...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My 2008 Goals... And Anthology Guidelines

I've decided to work toward a higher number of submissions (and hopefully publications) in the coming year. The exciting part is that not only will it continue to build my resume, it'll - potentially - pay well! I know it can be done, and this is my year to try it for myself. Magazine articles/essays are good possibilities, but I'm also really intrigued by anthologies, like Chicken Soup for the Soul.

And yippee! I've gotten a headstart. Last week I submitted pieces to both a Chicken Soup title and a newer anthology called True Real Estate Stories. Yesterday I sent off a first-person narrative to Guideposts, which, if bought, would be my first national publication. How cool would that be?! I've one more essay sub due to Chicken Soup at the end of this month, another later in the new year, and have been directed to a few websites that give submission guidelines for other anthologies. For anyone interested, they are:

Anthologies Online

Common Ties

Work on my novel has seriously slowed down; I haven't looked at it in at least a few weeks. Part of me is disappointed, but I was needing a long break from it. And I'm not ready to force myself with it just yet. I did come up with the concept for another novel (and Hubby likes it much better than my current WIP)... I may decide to start some work on it.

The good news is, I have 12 whole months (and beyond) ahead of me. What I can accomplish in that amount of time is up to me, and I'm excited to see what I can do.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas! May you be blessed in the new year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


As I fiddle fart arou-- um, work on the computer tonight, Hubby is FINALLY installing the new motherboard for his computer. Is there any greater news at this very moment? Once again my computer is mine, all mine. Bwahahaha! I never was good at sharing...

Oh! And I've been "tagged." *sigh* AmyDoodle of Mind Over Mullis gave me the news last night. Story has it I'm to disclose 5 odd and/or unique things about myself. Bummer. I'm also supposed to tag five new people... but I refuse to conform (sorry Amy). 'Tis your choice, Oh Faithful Readers. So if you'd like to clue those of Bloggerland in on all your funnies, post away... but I don't want to name names (you know who you are, Melanie) and leave you feeling trapped or pressured (kimmi, I'm lookin' at you). I shall merely proceed with my own facts.

1. I'm OCD about washing my hands. When a sink and soap are no where to be found I steal from the stash of baby wipes meant for my two-year-old. Or... a good spit bath works.

2. I carry a Kleenex in the waistband of my pants (the ones without pockets). You never know when your nose may require a good swiping. Or when Hubby will need a smear of grease rubbed from his cheek. (Note: Do not do this while dining at 54th Street Grill and Bar for your third anniversary.)

3. I count steps, silently, as I ascend or descend them. It's a good thing our two staircases have just twelve steps each, since I can only count to fourteen.

4. Hi, my name is Janna and I'm addicted to caffeine. Primarily that which is found in Dr Pepper and Starbucks mocha frappucinos. Here's what I look like when I haven't had any:

Although, to be fair, I look the same when I've had too much. Or when I get out of bed in the morning.

5. I'm a self-conscious person. Really. Oh, cripes. Was that a boogie on the end of my nose? *runs to other room, away from computer so no one can see*

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It Can Be Done

So on this, the same day I posted about motivation and finding a balance, I had a quite successful afternoon and evening. I managed to kick myself in gear to: do housework (dishes, laundry, straightening), whip out my next column (!), rid the refrigerator of its rancid leftovers (never my strong suit), play computer games with my oldest, snuggle with my youngest, fix a homemade dinner of meatloaf and the fixin's, and pick up where I'd left off (months ago) in reading John Warner's Fondling Your Muse. Whew! And, blessedly, the day's not over yet. I just wanted to have a looksee at my favorite sites and post this update. Shortly, I'll be moving on to bake chocolate chip cookies (seriously, how can one go wrong with that?) and join my daughers in the veiwing of whichever installment of The Santa Claus is on t.v. tonight. Whew!

Have a blessed night!

Lazy Is As Lazy Does

The last few months, my motivation has been in writing. Which is good - don't get me wrong - but I was avoiding housework and giving up quality time with my daughters (ages 2 and 4). I was spending many hours a day online and in Word, and couldn't easily get myself up from my desk - I was parenting from my stool. Hubby was giving me grief, my girls were cranky, and I had no energy. And I wasn't effective as a mommy. (In my defense, it hasn't always been this way.)

Over the past week or so my outlook has changed. Somehow I've been charged with a new kind of motivation. Something I read, along with a renewed sense of all the blessings I have to be thankful for, has made me realize the priorities my life should have. My family in and of itself has always been first... but I've found it easy to temporarily put their needs aside while I did what I wanted to do. How selfish of me. I see now that my goal should be taking care of them and our household (I am, after all, a stay-at-home mom), above all, and then my chance/time to write will fall into place.

My writing is still important to me; I'm not at all saying that's changed. I just need to go about it differently. I need to work on my projects through certain times of the day, like naptime and in the evenings. Oh, I know I'll periodically check AW, MySpace, and Blogger throughout the day, but I have to resist the urge to sit for hours at a time, doing nothing but waste time.

Now that my perspective is once again focused on what it should be, there is a downside. I've put so much time and effort into home and family that, at day's end, I have no desire to sit and write. My body's tired, my brain is fried. I feel lazy about my writing now. Opening my WIP and trying to add to my word count is the last thing I want to do. I'm still working on all my smaller projects (ie. my column - an actual deadline seems to motivate me plenty), but I feel like the novel has fallen by the wayside. I'm not going to give up. And I refuse to let it sit, without doing more work on it. But at what point will I look forward to that again?

Any tips for finding a happy medium, a balance?

Friday, December 7, 2007

As The Miles Passed: Corn Nuts and Columns

Hubby's eBay business took our family on a roadtrip to Oklahoma this week. After delivery of a pontoon boat in Kansas and an overnight with my father-in-law outside Tulsa, we picked up two cars before returning home. One was dollied behind our truck; I followed, driving the other. Since our girls remained in the truck with Hubby, I had several hours in a quiet car to myself. I can't tell you how much this excited me. No bickering or whining. No Radio Disney. Just peace and my thoughts.

When we stopped for gas I took time in selecting a snack I could relish alone. (Although it backfired; Corn Nuts and Starbucks do not a feast make.) Back on the road, I listened to a favorite Christmas c.d. and stewed over my various writing projects. The work I'd already done on my next column hadn't been panning out, but as I drove that day a new twist on the theme became clear in my mind. So, between bumps on the road and swigs of frappuccino I wrote out my new column. Yes, hand wrote. (Kids: Don't try this at home.) I slapped a piece of paper on the dash and hurriedly scrawled my thoughts. Vibrations from the road (and the car's bad rotors) made for a mess, but I got some good work done. Now if I can just decipher it all, get it into Word, I'll be good to go...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Business is s...l...o...w...

A couple months ago I finally formed a business I'd been thinking about for awhile. Encouragement from my sister and a comment from an acquaintance made me take the official step and start Something She Wrote. Yep. Not only is it my blog name; it's my business name, too. It's a writing and editing service focused on helping any writer in need.

Though business is slow, my completed projects already include critiques of serious writers' partial and full mss and, for people who don't have writing in their bones, a wedding reception speech (the matron of honor was lost) and a professional bio for a musician's website. And I'm ready to do more!

I've been distributing business cards and affixed sparkly new decals to my mini-van. Word of mouth has its benefits, too, but things aren't taking off as quickly as I might have liked. Really, I think I envision helping businesses and folks who don't normally write. Like the nearby bakery that wants snappy flyers (or a slogan!) created, for instance, or people who need a family history written up for a reunion... I know there's a need for stuff like that.

So, if you've happened by my blog here, check out my website Something She Wrote for more details. And feel free to pass my info along!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You Say Headache, I Say Migraine

Today she wrote nothing...

I don't know if I could even recognize a regular headache anymore. For ten years now I've battled migraines. They used to come with nausea. Bad nausea. Now the stomach ickies are better, most times, but the pain grips at my hairline, rendering me useless. Most of today was spent in bed, willing some relief to come over me. Hours later I feel much better, but that "after" sort of daze is hangin' round. To look in the mirror is a scary thing; I've large dark circles under my eyes and an unsettling pallor is apparent. Ugh.

Hubby was most understanding today. He kept the girls in a separate part of the house and took care of getting our oldest to and from preschool. Bless him. Now, she's gone for an overnight at my parents' and the house is reasonably quiet. I'm soaking it in. Trying to muster up the gumption to work on chapter two... I've completely reworked chapter 1, as it didn't have the right amount of conflict to hook the reader. And now that it's better, I have to revise chapter 2... flow is everything, you know. Then again, sitting in a dark and quiet place sounds quite nice...

Wish me luck... on my writing and my migraines.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Don't Like Sharing

My husband and I each have our own computers. They're set up side-by-side in our basement office - or what he likes to refer to as our "Internet Cafe." Trendy, eh? It works well this way. He runs an eBay business... which means he's on the computer a lot. I'm a writer... which means I'm on the computer a lot. Most times (down times, when our daughters are sleeping or occupied, to be exact) we sit next to each other, working on our respective projects. You might very well hear dueling keyboards.

However, a few weeks ago the video card in my husband's motherboard (or some such) blew, busted, (insert appropriate term here). Being the bargain buyer he is, and not having found a sufficient deal for a replacement, his computer sits quiet, unused, lonely. Which means my computer gets double duty. And we have to share. :( It never fails: I'm in the zone and need to write, but he's hogging my stool to maintain his online auctions. Or he needs to check the status of something, and I'm pecking away like a madwoman, not to be disturbed.

It's become a game. One waits for the other to rise from the desk, if only for a second, so as to pounce on the stool and claim victory! Woe be the man or woman who needs a potty break...

Oh, to have two working computers again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yup, Still Writing

Still writing. Well, revising. Making some areas that weren't working very well, um, work. Then I'll get back to finishing the manuscript. I suspect my original goal of looking for a literary agent by Christmas is unattainable. *gulp* Maybe I'll set a new goal of... Valentine's Day. At least then there's something about February 14th to look forward to, no thanks to Hubby...

I've been doing a lot of beta reading, too, and I'm seeing some good stuff. I enjoy the process of betaing because it gets my mind off what I'm writing, gets my brain working on cut and dry stuff, then proves to motivate me on my own projects. Cool, huh?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So. Darn. Cold.

Though rumor has it our weather is supposed to get in the 60s again in my area of the Midwest (did I hear wrong?), it's blasted cold today. We've just had our propane tank filled and the heat is cranked - I even sat with my back mere inches from the fireplace - but I'm turning to ice! Makes for cold fingers that don't want to navigate a keyboard. Still, I plug away because I have to. I'm making headway on the book - almost finished with chapter 14. Wahoo!

I think, though, I'll go get a mug of hot chocolate, hold it in my hands to warm my fingers and beneath my face to thaw my nose.


Monday, November 12, 2007

BLTs, Bruised Arms, and Box Elder Bugs

Curse the bugs.

I merrily plunk away at the keyboard, adding words to my chapter. I get through the dinner scene and a bug dive bombs my head. I flick it away and move on to a character's fall down the stairs. Two bugs meet each other on the monitor and walk across my freshly-typed sentence. Argh.

These suckers are everywhere! We've had warmer weather than is usual for this time of year. That, coupled with whatever it is about our house that allows easy entry, makes for over-population of Box Elder Bugs. They look like ladybugs, only they're orange-y in color and have wings that unfold from their bums. They fly, they hover, they crawl. They try to eat my snack, drink my water, and pile on the bathroom counter. I've swept up nearly two pounds of them. Thanks heavens they're not flying spiders.

Pardon me. I must scrape the bug carcus from between the "r" and "t" and finish my paragraph...

Movin' Right Along

I'm actually making progress. Who would've thought that making an outline for the last third of my book would help? Not me. I'm not an outline sort of person. I don't want to feel bound to anything I sketch out in advance, or feel like I'm writing without really doing the true work. But at an acquaintance's suggestion I quickly jotted down where I wanted chapter 13 to go... and viola, I finished it! So, now I trudge ahead with notes for each chapter from here on out.

I've always said (in reference to my novel) that I would just write until the story's told. I still feel that way, though I've outlined what appears to be enough for 23 chapters. We'll see how much gets changed as I move forward. Undoubtedly there will be unexpected details that creep in, and surely I'll have some tweaking to do. But I'm looking ahead, ready to get this puppy done.

For today, though, I'm taking a slight break. Leaving the girls with Hubby and escaping for a day with a couple of friends. Lunch out and some shopping are just what this mama needs. But I'll write more later. Promise.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Frisco Exit

What a fabulous week we had!

Tuesday morning dawned and my girls and I loaded into the van, leaving the driveway at 5:15 a.m. (No easy feat, mind you.) We met up with I-70 and aimed for Colorado.

A long drive and several Disney movies later we climbed the Rockies, eager to join my husband (who'd gone out earlier with friends) for some family time in Breckenridge. We took the Frisco exit (or Frisco Eskit, as I kept spitting out), taking in the sights and breathing in the mountain air (the altitude only made me lightheaded and weak for the first four days of our five day trip).

Our condo was amazing. Lots of room to spread out, with housekeeping to do the dirty work (including dishes!). Hubby gave me a break from cooking duties, which was flippin' awesome. Our girls entertained themselves, while Hubby and I skied and caught up on some reading, respectively. (I highly recommend Patricia Wood's LOTTERY.) We, as a family, walked the town of Breckenridge, hiked Swan Mountain, and visited the outdoor hot tub in 60+ degree weather. We watched Disney Channel, took naps, and gourged ourselves on chocolate chip cookies.

I stewed on my novel, which has been moving slowly the last few chapters. And months. The good books I read served to jumpstart my motivation, and I completed a rough outline for the remainder of the novel and renamed it. Good times.

We drove home yesterday, stopping only for food and potty breaks. We made it to our home state after dark, pulling into the driveway beneath tired trees and the starry sky. A good night's sleep was had by all and today we settle into the routine of home.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must rescue the toddler from her big sister (or is it the other way around?). Then lunch calls and a nap awaits.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I Shoulda Stayed Home...

My original plan was to stay home from church this morning. It's been a long, busy week with days of not feeling well and, especially with my hubby out of town, I figured it'd be a good chance for my daughters and me to rest up. But then this a.m. dawned and I was feelin' pretty good. And I realized it's Communion Sunday, which is as important a reason to go as any. True?

I should have seen early on that things weren't going to go smoothly for me. (Where's a Blue's Clue when ya need one?) Despite my continued reminders to family and friends over the last few days... I forgot to set my clocks back. So not only did I miss out on my once-per-year opportunity to keep the kids in bed for an extra, glorious hour (yeah, right), I rushed around madly, trying to primp this, dress that, and get us out the door - all before I realized it was an hour earlier than I thought.

So with our extra time we stopped at Wal-Mart. I figured we'd get that errand done; save some time after church. Instead of the quick in-and-out trip I always hope (pray) for, it turned into a thirty-plus minute ordeal. First we had to look at all the clearance Halloween stuff, at the request of my daughters. I did end up buying a costume for each daughter (super cheap!), yet I can't help but worry that in a year's time they'll have changed their minds about being a Barbie bride and Snow White. Guess Hubby and I'll have to wear 'em... Then we couldn't pass up the aisles of Christmas goodies. We knocked down an entire case full of tubed wrapping paper, set off a group of singing tree toppers, and I discovered the zipper on my pants refuses to stay in the up position. Hello world! All this in the first quarter of the store...

Church, once we got there, did not go well. Our family of three (minus Hubby, remember) ended up in the nursery after multiple pew-escape attempts from the little one. (To set this scene better - the nursery is a 6'x6' uninsulated room, directly off the sanctuary. Whichever mom makes it to the nursery first becomes that Sunday's attendant. The honor was mine today.) My daughters were already loud and halfway-obnoxious, but when a rambunctious four-year-old boy joined us, true chaos ensued. Toy tractors took flight, buckets of crayons were dumped, and the table-dancing began. Another mom (who parents her children differently than I do mine) swept into the room demanding to know, "What's going on in here!?" ...I snapped. She offended. I excused her. She left. And I felt horrible. I was so upset by the situation I felt unworthy of Communion. So I didn't partake and stewed over what had just happened. Pfft. But before I could sneak out of the building, unseen at the tail-end of the service, she returned to the nursery. We apologized, we hugged, all was forgiven. (And in all honesty, I do love this woman as one Christian loves another.) A happier spirit was within me and church was over...

We were leaving the church parking lot, headed to lunch. A man who's both a friend and priesthood member approached my van. We chatted a bit and he asked where my husband was. I explained he's gone to Colorado, having gotten a stupendous deal on a condo in Breckenridge. (The kidlets and I are to join him later in the week.) But instead of what should have come out of my mouth I said, yada yada "the condom he got." YIPES! *smacks hand on head* I couldn't - and still can't - believe that came out of my mouth. Despite our giggles and the friend's assurance that it was no big deal, I sank low in my seat and turned as red as my mini-van, I'm sure. Then I waved a friendly goodbye and high-tailed it outta there.

...So now we're home. I'm going to stay here, do chores, and keep myself out of trouble. I hope.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Color Me Embarrassed (An Update)

It turns out last night's dinner party was... nothing more than a dinner party. So glad I mentioned my thoughts of it being a surprise birthday get-together to only my husband. And everyone on blogger.

I feel really silly for having read more into comments than was actually there. I let my writer's mind get carried away (we all have grand imaginations, no?), complete with notions of decorations, surprise guests, and yummy dessert in my honor. *sigh* I have to admit, rather sheepishly, I was disappointed. But the dinner party was fun for what it was: a casual gathering of a few friends for food. And in a week's time my birthday will have passed as any other day.

As for today, my flu symptoms are worse. I'm trying to figure out how to get through the day with Hubby MIA and my two daughters running freely, not to mention what I'll do about big family plans for this evening. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 2, 2007

All's Quiet On The-- COUGH.HACK.WEEZE!

This time right now - early afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays - is my "me time." The oldest is at preschool; the youngest is napping. And I'm at the computer with my requisite Starbucks, doing my own thing, sans interruptions. Aahhh, 'tis the life.

But wait! What's that achiness I feel? Why is my head stuffy and light? Why am I continually wracked by hacking spells? Oh no. I think, folks, the flu has hit.

Our family of four has been sniffling and coughing with each other for a few weeks now (because like any good relative, we share...). My littlest has had the roughest go of it; poor Sweetcheeks'* congestion just won't clear up. My husband, who rarely lets anything knock him down, spent a couple of days taking it easy last week. Fortunately, the ickiest of the ickies seem to have by-passed my oldest, for the most part, but this is my second go 'round. Doesn't the ol' influenza know the rule? Not da Mama!

Granted, I'm not feeling the worst of the worse. I'm still able to function, but I'm worried about tonights plans. Some friends of mine are getting together for a friendly dinner... but what I secretly think is that they're intending to celebrate my birthday (tomorrow's the big day). Please, don't tell anyone. I'd die of embarrassment if A)they found out I suspected something was up or, even worse, B)I've imagined it all in an overly-grandiose way and it truly is just a normal get-together... *blushes wildly* But what fun will it be, either way, if I'm feeling like a bus ran me over and left me in the ditch?

I guess I'll just load up on my Walgreen's Severe Cold pills, and take 'er as she comes. I think I have to go tonight, regardless of whether a birthday celebration ensues. If it just happens to be true, though, I'll eat a piece of cake for you...

*Not her given name.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Here!

The publication with the first installment of my new column arrived yesterday. How exciting! I ran (up the hill, huffing... I'm no runner) from the mailbox and burst through the door. "It CAME!" I yelled to my husband, who watched my frenzy with the newspaper for a half-second, then returned to his project.

Soon after discovering my treasure amidst sales flyers and a cell-phone bill we had to leave the house. I absorbed the column with new eyes as we drove to our destination. I was nervous, excited, proud. I was grinning like mad. And I was a bit disappointed to see they changed the wording in one of my sentences. Actually, it was supposed to have been two sentences, but they replaced a period with a comma and ran (on) with it. Hmph.

During our excursion I was able to show the article to a friend, who hadn't really been acquainted with my writing yet. I stewed while she quietly read, afraid of what her response might be. Is it really that good? I wondered. Is she gonna think I'm a dork with only mild talents? ...She did seem to like it, but then my string of doubts took over.

Through fits of wakefulness last night I kept thinking I should have included this or That word should have been omitted. I reread it now and, though I'm proud of it, I worry it'll flop. Maybe it won't get the warm welcome I'm hoping for within our community. What if I'm not the next Erma Bombeck? ;)

But I just have to get my mind out of the funk. I have to believe in my writing, right? And I do. I just need to keep remembering that not every single person will enjoy my words. But if I write them true to myself, making them as entertaining as I can, I will have succeeded at my job.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ode to Sweet Mocha Goodness

Oh, Starbucks, how good you are to me,
Do you know what pleasure you bring?
The mere thought of you in the morning
makes my taste buds sing.

I seek you out at least once a day
You bring me simple happiness –
More than pure water, who needs it?
or anything with caffeinated fizz.

I find myself hunting dimes and pennies
just to purchase a bottle of you,
Sweet mocha frappuccino.
Without you what would I do?

Your low-fat concoction is bliss
your taste so divine,
When poured over ice, sipped through a straw
nothing is as fine.

You are a moment of peace
in a hectic day of mommyness.
You are mine and mine alone
and I treasure your goodness.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


It's the first time I'm admitting it...

Writing this novel of mine is hard, hard, hard. I'm getting frustrated with the process. Once again I'm stuck. Afraid to move on because I might fail. As if what I've been building toward isn't going to have enough pay-off.

How do I get out of this slump? I pull up my current chapter and stare at the few pages I have on the screen. I see in my mind the characters, sitting there, having their conversation, and it's so boring. How do I move past it? How do I get to the next exciting part? How do I continue working toward the end I know is coming? I still believe in it; I still want to see it come together for my characters. I just can't get there. Does it mean I'm hopeless? Has part of me given up? I certainly hope not.

I've been heavily active in the writing forums over at AW. On some levels it's encouraging, on others it's discouraging, to find how many writers JUST LIKE ME there are out there. Yes, I still believe in myself, but what gaurantee do I have that an agent will represent me? That he/she will succeed in selling my book? That my words will actually be read by hundreds, thousands, millions of people? Is my goal unrealistic? Have my dreams gotten too lofty?


Don't You Hate It When...'re missing cash you can't account for? Yesterday I was given two twenties by a neighbor for whom my husband completed a task. I spent one, roughly, on a movie rental last evening and lunch for my girls and me today. Made it to Wal-Mart this afternoon, intending to snag my purchases with the remainder, only to find - once already at the cash register - my wallet was empty. The second $20 bill was gone. Hm.

There are two, maybe three, possibilities. Perhaps I gave the twenty along with or instead of the cash I thought I put in the collection plate at church this a.m. Maybe I was careless and misplaced or dropped it somewhere. It's not a usual occurence with money for me, but I've been known to do silly, mindless things (says she with the Mommy Brain who occasionally puts the gallon of milk in the glass cabinet). Or, what I like least, maybe someone raided my purse and took the $20. It could have happened but why, then, didn't they take the adjacent debit card? It just makes no sense. Of course I prefer the first scenario, but what's hard is not knowing what happened to that money.

Maybe, just maybe, it'll turn up.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thank Goodness... It's Naptime!

My last post had me occupied for a little bit. When all was said and done I went upstairs to check on my girls... who had been quiet for much too long. Wouldn't you know it, they'd gotten into the oldest's (who's four) play make-up. The two-year-old had newly (and messily) polished fingernails, complete with a war-stripe of the same purple hue emblazoned across her cheek. No problem. I calmly placed the make-up in a high, out-of-reach location, and took to scrubbing Natalie's cheek. She seemed no worse for the wear.

I returned to the basement in search of socks and shoes for our planned outing. I hadn't been gone more than a minute or two when Natalie bellowed down the stairwell, "Mommy! Emma... stuck!" Criminy. Now what has the oldest gotten into? Turns out she was only having trouble with a sock, but it sure seems I can't leave them alone today.

Right now happens to be Quiet Time. The youngest is sleeping and the oldest is resting (she refuses to take naps now that she's a "big girl") while watching her PollyWorld movie. Ahh, a few moments of peace to work on my writing...

Eek! What's that noise? Cripes, I think I hear two sets of feet stomping around upstairs...

How Much is Too Much?

Seems like my days are filling with more and more writing. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I'm wondering at what point will I take on too much. Maybe it's not even the time I devote to writing that concerns me, but rather the time I devote to other things while plopped at the computer.

I have no less than four windows minimized on any given day. My personal MySpace page (and blog) is an important one; it's switched out through the day with my business page, also on MySpace. Yahoo is typically up, and again I bounce between my personal and business inboxes. The forums at Absolute Write have become a standard for me; I've learned endless new things and have made connections with great people. (I love the ongoing banter.) And here's this new thing for me, Blogger. LOVE it! I think it's going to prove great for networking, as well, and what more could I ask for?

The thing that concerns me is that, though each of the sites mentioned above have to do with writing on some level, there's a whole lot of messin' around to do and fun to be had on each, as well. A girl could waste massive amounts of time doing little piddly, fun things, instead of, say, working on the stagnate manuscript that's been staring her in the face for over a month. Many times I rave about how things such as MySpace surveys and AW forums get my brain working and exercised, ready to take on whatever mental block I'm trying to get past. It's worked that way before, honest! But now I fear I've become comfortable with merely playing around on these sites, and I'm avoiding the real work to be done.

I have been busy with small writing projects: I've sent off several article subs in the last few weeks, and (as mentioned yesterday) have begun writing as a columnist for a local paper. Those things keep me busy, and I love it all. I think, though, I've been - subconsciously, maybe - putting off work on my novel. I'm in chapter 13, which is pretty darn good. I know what my ultimate destination is, and even some of the routes I'll take to get there, but I'm stuck and I just don't know which way to go.

So, after all this rambling... what I guess I'm wondering is... have my other writing projects (and playtime) taken away from my most important goal and dream, that of completing my novel? How do I get back into the groove of my ms? Do I have to leave all the other windows down and closed until I've written something - anything! - on my WIP?

And then, of course, I didn't even mentioned the two precious preschoolers I'm responsible for day in and day out. Or the household I have to run. How to Spaghetti-O's and laundry fit into all this?

Friday, October 26, 2007

A by-line by... Janna Qualman

I've been waiting ever-so-patiently. It was supposed to have come, I assumed, sometime this week. But now here we are; it's Friday, and it still hasn't arrived.

I've had visions of how pretty it will be. My title across the top. Every Mom's Column. My name just below. by Janna Qualman. And my words, the ones I labored over so they were just perfect, will follow.

It's the introductory edition to my new column. A humorous, relatable look at motherhood (think Erma Bombeck). In some editions I'll talk about mishaps with my daughters (like when my youngest's diaper went AWOL), in others I'll tackle stages of parenthood every mother reaches (leaving your kid behind on the first day of preschool). I'm SO excited about it. And I can't wait to see how it's received by our community.

But it has to be distributed first. The fall edition is due any day now.

So I continue to wait ever-so-patiently...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Brownie and a Blog

How good is this evening? Let's see...

The kids are in bed. A pan of brownies (complete with milk chocolate chips) is fresh out of the oven. And I've embarked on this journey that is my new blog, here at the blogspot. I think that's a pretty fab night.

Don't rightly know what sorts of things I'll be talking about in the future. More than likely, my writing or some such. That would make the most sense, no?

But right now a brownie calls to me. So, until next time. I'll work on something witty to post.