Me Being Me

I’m Still Standing

I’ve taken on a new challenge, completely self-imposed. I seem to have a greater chance of succeeding on those rather than external challenges. Writing-on-typewriter-007Writing is a notoriously sedentary job. All the hours getting stories down on the page, reading and editing, and then doing the promotion to sell those stories takes a toll. My upper back (just above bra strap land) has been crying out in pain for months. When that happens I get headaches, my arms go oddly numb, and every so often I get light headed.

When I had to abandon my editing to care for my mother post-surgery, I got off my butt and walked around a lot. I stood. Essentially, I stopped sitting all day long. And my back started to feel better. My posture even improved. I attributed all the good to the walking, so I upgraded my Fitbit and started walking with a friend at the mall. Yes, I’m one of those ladies who walks in circles and talks in the morning. Totally worth being a stereotype for once, because I feel better, I’m not going broke paying for a gym membership (eww, locker rooms!), and I’m not frost bitten in this below zero weather. But I sit the rest of the day because of my über sedentary job.

IMG_1526I’m not one of those people who can follow the advice of “get up every hour, stretch at your desk, clean while thinking of your next scene.” Hell, if I start cleaning, my whole house will get a scrub, and I will have long forgotten my scene by the time I get back to the computer.

Then last week I decided to put my laptop on a medium sized bookcase. I stood for three hours and edited. I made sure I was wearing good shoes, and I rocked back and forth quite a bit.

I did three hours the next day.

I did four yesterday. My back feels better.

My posture has improved. My feet might be a little sore, but not much worse than when I walk for long periods. I have made sure I’m wearing my very best shoes, however because I have plantar fasciitis in one foot.

So I’m going to keep doing this. I’m blown away that I’m not drop dead tired at the end of the day. I’m sleeping better, and I’m sure this helps. I don’t struggle with increased fatigue all day, like I expected. That’s saying a lot too. Because of medical conditions I deal with, everything tires me. Everything! Some days I’m sure all I’ll manage to get in is one hour a day, but that’s still huge. The benefits of this go well beyond my posture.

Since I’m recording everything related to physical exertion in an effort to lose weight, I found a website that helps me figure out how many calories I’ve burned standing rather than sitting. At Just Stand, you input your weight and how long you stood. You’ll get results like these: Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.10.50 AM So, I burned 131 calories more by standing and working the other day. Since I have a hard time leaving my writing (sometimes I just have to get those words down on the page or there’s a deadline), this makes me feel a heck of a lot better. And then to read about other benefits…. Wow! I just had to share! UofChesterStudyResults Sitting So Much Should Scare You Infographic (Ergotron) / CC BY 3.0

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Authors, Writing Challenges, Writing Process

Open Project(s)

I’m writing a novella, and I have a short story that I have waiting in the wings. But first I need to finish this novella. I am one of those writers who needs things completed before they can move on, and it drives me a little (a lot) nuts.

So, today I will be scheming how to finish this story up. I got to a place where I thought I was done, but then realized I really wasn’t. So I need to write a few new scenes and the new ending today so I can work on my short story.

Am I the only author out there who can’t move on to new projects until the old ones are completed? If you were ever like me, please tell me how you got past this? I wish I could have 15 projects going at once.

Help!

Writing Challenges, Writing Process

Writing Challenges – Getting Started

I have a new project or five in my head. I know the characters very well already. I know the plot points that will turn and move the story forward. I know the setting, the year the stories take place, the tone, even the secondary characters.

So what is keeping me from starting?

I just said my least favorite word: start. How the hell do I start this book? What’s the opening scene? How do I not get bogged down in everything I just talked about in the first paragraph and instead, write a compelling opening?

If I weren’t a linear writer (for the most part), I’d just start in the middle and go, but I can’t do that.

What are the hardest parts for you when writing? Do you find opening scenes as challenging as I do? And what on earth do you do to get over that hump?

GLBT, Interviews & Reviews, LGBT, Thanks, Writing Process

Vote Today for the Finalists!!!

This might look like yesterday’s post, but it’s so different. Yesterday the voting at Mrs. Condit Reads was preliminary voting. This time around it is the Author of the Month Finalist!!!! So thank you for tugging Posy Robert’s fusion into the new poll. XOXO

So, if you have a few moments to grab your devices, whichever ones you fancy, would you be so kind as to vote for Posy Robert’s Fusion or any other book that jumps up and grabs you. Winners will be announced Jan 9th.

❤ Thank you!

Author-of-the-Month-Finalist

Blog Tour, Interviews & Reviews

Fusion Tour Stops – All Over the World

I’m on three continents today! I’m surely going to be jet lagged by the time my head hits the pillow, but it will be so worth it. Here’s my itinerary:

  1. My first stop is in England where I talk to Jay Northcote about bringing humor into an angsty story.
  2. Next, I fly to Australia to dish with N.R. Walker about the joys and struggles of writing and reading a series.
  3. Then after a long flight over the Pacific Ocean, I talk with Charley Descoteaux about agoraphilia during her Kink Week celebration.

And now enjoy a little E.L.O. while people flashmob all over the world. 🙂

Blog Tour, Book Release, My Novels

Fusion Blog Tour

FusionI can’t believe Fusion is going to be released in a matter of days. Days! November 18th, to be precise.

I’ll be hopping around to different sites over the next few weeks, but I wanted you to be able to easily find where. This is your one stop shopping. So buckle up. Let’s go have some fun!

Date Blog Stop Post Topic
11/17 A Novel Approach Interview & Give Away
11/18 Twitter Takeover @Dreamspinners Teegan Loy & Posy will tweet from 7-9 pm CST
11/19 Christopher Koehler Interview
11/20 Anne Barwell Long and Hard – Writing Beyond Lust
11/21 N.R. Walker Long, Deep, but Quick – Getting a Trilogy out Fast
11/21 Jay Northcote Humor in the Midst of Angst
11/21 Charley Descoteaux Kink Month: Agoraphilia
11/22 Jamie Fessenden Writing about Emotional Abuse
11/27 Tempeste O’Riley BFFs – Gay Men and Straight Women
Me Being Me, Thoughts

Writing Because of Tears

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The last time I absolutely had to write or else my brain would explode was in June. I’d watched something and I truly needed to write about it in order to process it. Let me put it this way, someone died in a horrific way. I watched this show on a Sunday night, and then all day Monday, I took my mom to many doctor appointments. We ended up at the hospital for her final appointment. We’d taken the shuttle over and had some time to kill, and she was excited to look around the gift shop.

See, her husband was in the intensive care unit there after his bile duct cancer, and despite him having a very good prognosis, he had given up. Eventually he was flown home, admitted to a nursing home, and died there, but before that, he spent months in that hospital. And so did my mom, often taking breaks in the courtyard filled with beautiful flowers and shopping in the hospital gift shop. It truly is a great gift shop, and they carry amazing things.

That hospital is also the place where my daughter “lived” for much of her first year, and so did my husband and I. It was our home away from home. I knew which days they were going to serve Chicken and Wild Rice soup in the cafeteria, and I knew the best waiting rooms to escape to when I needed a break. Luckily, after many operations, my daughter is doing well and thriving and growing, but we didn’t know the outcome back then, so the hospital is not a super place for me.

After watching that horrific death on my large screen television and reeling from it the night before (I bawled and stared at my screen as if it would suddenly show me a different image), I was then thrown into a situation where my mom’s health and the risks of her upcoming surgery, were being talked about. In a hospital that holds a lot of memories.

There’s a lot of green marble and warm wood in those hallways. The lighting is odd—dark but light somehow. There’s a courtyard that has a beautiful fountain bubbling and mounds and mounds of tulips bloomed. There was plenty of construction at the time as well. That bothered me. For over a year, that was my second home. I knew how to get out to the fountain so I could sit next to it and be calmed by the lull of the splashing, and I knew exactly how to get to the beautiful stained glass windows in the chapel. In June, it was all different and much of it was closed off to the public.

And the image of that dying girl from the television kept popping back into my head.

In the gift shop, my mom and daughter looked at every little thing on each shelf with such interest that it took them forever. After all, we were killing time until the next appointment. What I noticed were the Lindt truffles my husband used to buy for me as a diversion while we waited for my daughter to be returned from another day under doctors’ knives. And I saw toothbrushes. People often need to buy a toothbrush at the hospital, because so much of the time, you don’t know your loved one is going to be there. Sweaters for chilly waiting rooms. Robes. Decks of Cards. Shower caps. Who uses shower caps anymore?

I had to leave the gift shop because as I stood looking at a shelf filled with games and inspirational magnets, that dying girl was back behind my eyes. When I shut them, the image was even more vivid. I could actually hear the noises she made as she died on my television the night before.

I went out and stood in that green marble hallway and looked out toward the burbling fountain. I assumed it was burbling, but I couldn’t hear it. I could see the yellow and pink and peach tulips though. And I cried.

I tried very hard not to, but my throat closed up, my vision blurred, and tears streamed down my face. Nurses and nuns and patients walked by me. Some paid attention to me, but other’s looked away. I’m sure they assumed someone I loved was ill or injured or had maybe even died. Instead, I was crying over a stranger, a fictional character that I had initially hated when she was introduced on the show.

My daughter came out to find me, asking to show me something, so I did my best to pull myself together. Nana, my mom, bought it for her, of course. Even in the store the tears started again. I went back to the hall, running my hand across the warm wood, hoping it would comfort me better than the cold marble. Then my mom and daughter were ready to go.

No one ever asked me what was going on with me that day. I think it was because I was crying a lot that week because I was under a great deal of stress. When not sad, I was very grouchy.

Yet the image of that girl taking her last breath refused to leave me, and as soon as I got home, I sat down in front of the computer and wrote a very short scene. The girl was replaced; I wrote about a man, and I wrote about his lover who had to walk in and see that man take his last breath. As soon as I wrote, the intense emotionality left me. It was like I was able to type it out of me.

But that is the last time I felt compelled to write. I want to write like that again, but without all the drama, please.

I added on to that little scene, but it still needs a lot of work. I thought that would be my next big project, but I don’t think it can be. It makes me feel stuck. But yesterday I had a crazy, light-hearted story come into my head. That’s been bouncing around all day, and I even took time to play around on baby naming sites. My other character naming tool is my daughter, and she had a fun time coming up with secondary character names today.

Many times, I think writers wait for those moments of what feels like “divine intervention” or their muse “talking” to them before they will write. I certainly find more joy during those moments. For months now, I’ve been editing and reworking and doing all the not fun parts of writing. I miss it. I miss writing so much that I ache when I think of that day in June when I poured my soul into a keyboard.

I think it is time to write again.