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!