Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

I'm exhausted. I could easily crawl into bed and sleep for at least four more hours.

But, I can't. Both my daughters are in school today and that means getting my rear end in gear so that I can accomplish as much from my to-do list as possible.

October and November are going to be big months around here. I have a radio interview to prepare for, workshops and chats I am participating in for the Muse Online Writers Conference, two Virtual Book Tours to coordinate, and my school visits during Musing Our Children's Reading and Writing Appreciation Week to prepare for and attend. This doesn't take into account my other writing related projects or all my volunteer work with church and my daughters' schools.

Is it any wonder that I stay up until 1am most nights?

Getting only four to five hours of sleep a night for over 3 months is beginning to take its toll. I am ill-tempered and have a short fuse. I procrastinate more often. Today, I awoke to a scratchy throat and sniffling nose.

So, have I really done me or my writing career any good? No!

I often remind people to take care of themselves. Today's society seems to be made up of a bunch of busy people moving in ten different directions all at once. Why is it I don't take the advice I dish out? Do I think somehow I am immune to getting run down? Will life suddenly fall into place only because I am depriving myself of much needed rest?

Today, I am determined to start taking my own advice. Whether that means cutting back on Internet surfing time or the one hour of television I allow myself each day, I am going to make a point to be in bed by 11PM most nights of the week. I owe it to myself and to my writing career to be the best I can be. I can't do that if I am stuck in bed nursing some virus that I got because I wasn't smart enough to get the rest I need.

Burning the candle at both ends doesn't work--never has and never will. If you want to make the most out of your writing time, make sure you do it with a clear, well-rested head.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting to Know You with Susan McCray


One of my great loves is the television show Little House on the Prairie (LHOP). The former Casting Director, Susan McCray--wife of LHOP executive producer, Kent McCray--now hosts her own talk radio program on KSAV.ORG.

On October 23rd, Susan will have a live version of "Getting to Know You" where listeners can call in and ask her questions about the shows she has cast, Michael Landon, past guests on "Getting to Know You", and about her father--Academy Award-winning composer, Harry Sukman.

Call 1-800-407-5728 starting at 6:30PM Pacific and 9:30PM Eastern. Susan will also accept questions about her past guests on "Getting to Know You" via email at susan@ksav.org.

Susan has also written a charming children's book titled, Harry's Piano which is about the young life of her father, which would make a fine holiday gift for young musicians. For more information about Harry's Piano and to order your autographed copy, go to http://www.harryspiano.com/

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tapping into a child's imagination

The other day, I drove my youngest daughter to preschool and there was a long line of cars stopped at the red light.

"Why aren't you going?" she asked. She hates waiting in traffic.

"Well, what do you want me to do? There is a line of cars in front of me," came my impatient response. "Should I just drive into them?"

"I wish you had a car that had wings and could fly."

I glanced into the rearview mirror so I could see her face. "What?"

"Your car should have wings on it so it can fly over all the other cars and we can get to school faster."

My impatient fit of temper was now gone as we chatted about the possibilities of what kind of car I could have and what it would do. She had some really great ideas--none of which was logical to this adult mind, but her imagination ran wild and we enjoyed it as we waited for the light to turn green.

That's when I realized how I could write a better children's book. I've written a few children's stories so far, but I haven't done much with them because I feel they lack something.

And that something is a child's imagination. If only I would listen more carefully to my children, I could tap into what it is like to think anything is possible. Forget physics, biology, my tainted view of the world built up from years of bad experiences, and allow myself to think the impossible.

I'm going to give it a whirl. If it works out--I'll share it with you.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just one of the reasons I love my job

I love being a writer and I could probably fill this entry with the many reasons why. But instead, I'll leave you with this picture of me at my daughter's school last June, where the children and I put together a book--I wrote it and they illustrated it--which I came in to read to them.

To find out the details of this event, please visit the Musing Our Children website at http://musingourchildren.tripod.com/id4.html and look under Recent School Visits.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Waiting for feedback

Waiting for feedback on a story or article is kind of like waiting to go into labor. You know it's the only way you're going to see results, but all that pain and suffering scares the hell out of you.

I posted the beginning of a short story and a partial first chapter of a novel that has been revised about a zillion times for critique at my online writers group. Each day, I go back, to see if anyone has left me any comments, but so far nothing has happened. It's like those weekly visits to the OB/GYN where you're hoping he'll tell you that you are effaced and dilated.

And in both situations, you are equally disappointed when nothing has changed. There are no comments from your peers about how brilliant or how awful your work is and the doctor tells you, "Sorry, but you'll have to make another appointment next week."

Such is the life of the writer. If we aren't waiting for feedback, we're waiting for responses from editors or waiting to hear the results from the contests we've entered. But on the bright side, we aren't trying to push an 8 to 10 pound baby out of a hole the size of smaller jar opening.

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