Category Archives: Family

5 Brave Things: A Parenting Post

When a person loves something as passionately as I love my kids, then it can’t help seep into my writing life. For the first time today, I realized the opposite is also true. The organization skills I learned in managing my writing, specifically goal setting, is helping me in my parenting.

My six-year-old is painfully shy. I’m her security blanket when we’re out and she has to talk to anyone, literally. You know that sinking-into-the-floor feeling of anxiety? She really does it. She slips down to the floor and tries to disappear.

Recently, she had to appear onstage in front of the half the school for a spelling bee. It was torture for both of us getting her on stage and into her seat. She did the melting-into-the-floor trick and wouldn’t move, not even for the teacher running the event. I had to go up onto stage, take her hand and walk her to her seat. She was nervous still after that, but she did participate through round five, beating out several kids older than her.

We praised her up and down for being brave. And then inspiration struck. If she could do this, even with the earlier trouble, she can get past being shy. The proper motivation is absolutely required.

Both kids are in a karate school that encourages family participation. She’s been wanting me to join her class, I’ve been delaying. That’s the carrot. Now here’s the stick: that spelling bee is the first of 5 BRAVE THINGS she has to do. As a reward, when she’s done, I’ll join her class.  We’ve even talked to her karate teacher and he’s agreed to provide her opportunities in class to complete a BRAVE THING.

Just like writing, change comes a little at a time and needs the proper motivation and reward system. I hope I’ve stumbled onto the right solution for her.

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The Craziest Year of My Life: 2012

So much happened in 2012, that looking back upon it all, I’m dizzy.  The day job, which I rarely mention publicly, has been moving in the right direction. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a little about project management and my work is improving for it. I’m looking forward to more learning and new projects in the coming year.  The family situation had some serious bumps which will not ever be forgotten. I try to hold it close and apply it to my daily life to make better decisions. The kidlets and spouse went through some of those bumps as well, but they’re back to their old selves. The Girl is excelling in school but still experiencing shyness issues, and the Boy continues to outshine me in the independence department which makes some days really interesting. The spouse continues to make me proud, and the cats, well, they’re still vomiting everywhere but I’m grateful to have them with us at the ripe old kitty age of fourteen.

And you thought all I ever talked about was my writing. Wait for it….

The writing. It’s been a tremendous year from my writing. I spent the early part of the year planning and world building a novel and characters to write Winter Warrior. I wrote 8 chapters, and revised three of them for submission to Viable Paradise. I was accepted into the 2012 class and attended the workshop in October. Being accepted was only half as exciting as actually attending.  I’ve written since the workshop: two short stories and a novella. I’ve been revising some older items that needed a clean up post workshop. I gave one of the new stories a serious overhaul, which will go into submissions very shortly. This is good, but I definitely note that this year was a “quality” year as opposed to “quantity”. I wrote some really good stories, and spent lots of time learning about my writing and figuring out how to fix what needs fixing.

I attempted Write1Sub1 for the second year in a row. Since the quantity angle didn’t quite work, I didn’t make my W1S1 goals. I’ll be trying again in 2013.

Writing Friends. Between WorldCon and Viable Paradise, I met a lot of people who were previously screen names and email addresses to me before. There were personalities behind those avatars, but there isn’t anything like meeting those people in person and seeing them for who they really are. I met a bunch of people whom I had no idea existed, who have become part of a special circle of friends. We may not talk much or see each other often, but the bond is there. I hope to try and keep these new friendships going in 2013.

Here’s the official count for 2012:

  • ·         Novel Draft: Winter Warrior – in progress 26/80k
  • ·         Short Story Drafts 6
  • ·         Novella Drafts/Conversions 1
  • ·         Short Story Revision: 11
  • ·         New Submissions: 4
  • ·         Short Story Submissions: 80
  • ·         Short Story Rejections  86
  • ·         Short Story Acceptance: 1
  • ·         Critiques: 22
  • ·         Reading: 23
  • ·         May SAD = 12 outlines
  • ·         VP 16 application work (26k written, 8k revised)
  • ·         Worldcon 8/30-9/3
  • ·         Viable Paradise 16 10/7-12
  • ·          W1S1 Monthly (faltering progress)

 

Let’s look ahead to 2013, shall we? I’ve learned a lot that I need to put to use. (Not that I haven’t, mind you, but it’s one of those use-it-or-lose-it notions.)  The novel needs to be finished and revised. I’d like to get it out to critiquers by the end of 2013 in hopes of revising it for submission in 2014. I’m also keeping up with the short fiction.

 

Monthly Writing Goals

  • Novel Writing: Winter Warrior – Jan, Feb, Mar (15k monthly/5k weekly)
  • Novel Revision: Winter Warrior – April – October
  • Short Story (Write 2 – Revise 3 – Submit 1)
  • Blog: 4-8x
  • Critique: 4
  • Read: 2-3

 

This means Write 1 Sub 1 again. This means FMWriters’ May Story-A-Day Challenge. This means getting my schedule back on track, fast. I’m getting back to my morning workouts, which will help my fitness goals. Those aren’t as complex as the writing goals, fortunately, but I’ll be evaluating them monthly as well. I’ll be training for a 5k in May, so the running needs to get back on track. I’d like to be able to run the full race course as opposed to last year’s ½ run ½ walk.  To prepare this, I need to run three times a week, and lift weights twice. The new schedule I’ve devised should help, taking away the question of “what do I do today” and having the plan ready to go. In the recent past, overworking (trying to do too much across the board) and undersleeping have made mornings difficult. The 5am alarm doesn’t wake me. Instead, I go into autopilot and turn it off. I have discovered a new trick – using the alarm in my cell phone, which has a soft chime and a light that goes on when the chime starts. Getting the fitness on track will help get everything else to line up where and when it should.

So that’s the plan.

It IS a plan. These are not resolutions. I’ll be updating on the 1st of each month with my progress, but in between those updates, I plan on blogging a bit about my fitness adventures, and also about some cooking fun. I’m no chef, but I do love food, and I’d like to share my favorite recipes and experiments with you.

Thank you all for sticking me this year, and especially to those of you who reached out in my silence. I’m grateful for this blog and the people I keep in touch with because of it, my writing communities, and the ability to connect at any given moment. The writing life can be a solitary one, but with people like you, it isn’t. I wish you the best 2013 possible and if there’s some way I can help make it better, let me know.

Dawn

Week 4: Survival

Week 4 was not about writing, though I did complete a novel critique for a writer friend. I reworked my novel outline based on where the story needs to go and having too many viewpoint characters.  I analyzed a critique I received on Moondust and am saddened to say it needs a lot more work to function properly in its life as a short story. The novel version I can totally see coming to life. I’m reading Ray Bradbury’s book on writing still (just a chapter a night).

My two year old has been pretty sick and I’ve been spending my work time with him, my writing time working, and my sleeping time worrying about everything.

So while I can’t call this week a success, I refuse to call it a failure. I survived, and that’s about all that matters. Next week’s plans? 🙂 Short story revision (for my Triangulation story)  and a chapter on the novel.

Don’t Forget To Enjoy…

…the little things. I painted with my daughter today. Tons and tons of fun.

Painting With My Girl

I don’t visit graves…

… but I do think about those I’ve lost. Today is my godmother’s birthday, my Aunt Sandy. She moved away when I was young, but we always kept in touch and my family visited her fairly often.  I almost transferred colleges out of state to go live with her as she was reaching old age, but things didn’t work out that way. She died just six months before I got married (nine years ago). Our birthdays are only 3 days apart and often enough fell on Mother’s Day, so I always think of her at this time of year. And I always wish I could have done more.  But the truth is, she slipped away years before that, so I never really knew her as an adult.

So this is me, wishing her well in the afterlife, and laying roses at a gravestone in my mind, while I figure which one of my characters needs a charming and elderly aunt to guide her.