Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 and Today

Today is my first official full day back to work this year.

I work from home, so I suppose it would be hard to tell, but I have been putting family and the house first (a new house that needs personal-touch upgrading) over the holidays while circumstances made it the right time to do that, pushing aside much of my own work until the right time came to return to it steadily. Part of me always resents the intrusion into my work time, even when the intrusion is enjoyable. Breaks are good, however, as long as they don't become too extended.

One of my goals this year, since I do goals now instead of resolutions, is to write every day, on break or on holiday notwithstanding. It may be no more than a couple of paragraphs given the day's circumstances, but it will be something -- something other than blogging and email, something creative. So far, I have done that, and yes, there have been days it was only a paragraph or two, but it was new and creative. Art is like anything else; it must be routinely practiced to have a 'building' effect that causes improvement.

So far, I have finished a short contest entry entitled "Dear Me" -- a letter to myself about what I want to accomplish during the year; I have started a new short story about one of my favorite novel characters to delve more deeply into a time of his life that isn't included in one of the novels in my series; and maybe most exciting, last night I finally finished the complete rewrite of the novel fans are asking for ... the second of the Rehearsal series. It has only taken me a year and a half to do the rewrite. Only. Yes well, it is somewhere close to 200,000 words and in between I've done several short stories and the first 60,000 words of two other novels along with my online job, kids, and moving to a new state.

Today I start the major editing of it. I may be in the minority, but I love the editing process. I love going back and grimacing at some of the strange sentence structures that came from a tired brain and reworking them until they have just the right effect. I love being able to let myself highlight whole sections that aren't really necessary and clicking the delete key. I always save each complete draft, which makes that less scary. Mainly, I love seeing something rough sharpen and lighten and become more for the reader than for me.

Today, as well, my oldest child started college. It's an exciting time (never mind the tuition/books bill) that takes me back to my own college days and all of the vivid memories. It also means she will be out of the house not only for her variable part time job hours but for a set time two days a week that I can count on as being "mine" and mine alone.

Today, my husband is back to work after a long, well-deserved holiday break.

Today, I pushed further into an affiliation with a new organization I am proud to be associated with: Books for Boots.

Today, I also start the revamp of my website to include the info on this association.

Today ... is full of possibilities.

What are all of you doing with your todays?

1 comment:

PMBucalo said...

I, too, work out of my home - mostly for the purpose of my main career, a self-appointed insurance agency totaling me, myself and I, but also to promote a writing career - so I can relate to your mindset. It is difficult enough to manage that which potentially pays me, because I already have that proven expertise. Now I have added the burden of being a neophyte writer, and no way can I rely upon that other expertise to shorten the learning curve or pay up the dues owed to be an expert in writing.

The challenge to stay focused and productive is met every waking moment. It isn't an easy task to set aside parcels of time for work and pleasure and not have them tousle each other randomly like sibling cubs. Constant practice makes better, if never quite perfect, while excuses always leads us to unwanted guilt. I am not sure if I am better for having known the pitfalls in my insurance career are no different than managing a writing career. There is a sense of tag-teaming in this, unnecessary abuse in making these points known. But then, I have been known to have difficulty importing new notions into my thick Sicilian skull. From time to time. Time management is the antibiotic we must take to be well while striving to meet our goals. And it tastes no better, figuratively speaking.

As for how I feel about editing my own work, I find this an onus I barely can handle. I am a perfectionist, of a sort, never content with anything I create. The artistic talent I possess, handed down to me from my bloodline, adds insult to injury by fueling more possibilities toward unrest. Yet, I am driven to write, then look back at what I have written at a later date to only find many, many issues. That should be a good thing, right? Except that the more I touch it, the less fixed it becomes. By the end of my session I am at the end of my patience - or it is vice versa? - and I am ready to trash it all, start over. Editing is a perverse and dirty task I must perform, like washing the dishes after eating a wonderful meal. Except that I really do like doing the dishes. Ah well...I believe you know what I meant.