Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Gratitude

This Thanksgiving, I was (among other things) thankful to be surrounded by family and seated at a bountiful table of homemade food.

On Black Friday, I was thankful for the delights of post-Thanksgiving leftovers without any of the work.

And, in case you were wondering what canine gratitude looks like, here it is. Pelu is thankful to have finally worked her way up to getting this close to the kitty.

Hello, Kitty...I love you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food, Writing, and Rock n' Roll: Got Inspiration?

What do Brandi Carlile, The Secret Sisters, and Kathleen Flinn have in common?

Well, aside from the fact that they are all inordinately talented, they've each inspired my writing in various ways this week.

I took my friend Reb to a Brandi/Secret Sisters concert and practically floated out of the theater afterward. Those voices! That harmony! The lyrics! The sweet humility of the Secret Sisters and Brandi's raw, blush-inducing vulnerability...Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

Then I went to a cooking demo and book signing by Kathleen Flinn yesterday and practically floated out of the exhibition kitchen, yammering to the hubby the whole way. Yes there was the delicious food, and heaven knows I love me some good food, but there was also the inspiring fact that Kathleen left her corporate job, threw caution to the wind, and went after her dream of becoming a chef and writer...ahem...just like, you know, I left my corporate job, threw caution to the wind, and became a yoga teacher. I'm still working on the writer part.

"The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," Kathleen's first book about going to Le Cordon Bleu, is one of my top-five favorite books ever. If you haven't read it and you like food or have a dream, go get this book. There is something deeply inspiring about reading about/watching someone really go after their dreams. It's even better when you get to meet them afterward and they turn out to be even nicer and more awesome than you imagined. And, having read her first book, I'd imagined she was pretty freaking awesome.

I came home fired up and ready to write (or, in this case, edit..{sigh} {pound head} {vodka shot}). And that inspiration made me realize that you have to try new things, do new things, get out of your element. Because whether it's a concert or a cooking demo, you never know what will inspire you.

Thoughts? Ideas on inspiration? What inspires you??

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Real Challenge of Editing

OK. So I've cut 25,000 words. Baby's still got back, but significantly less. I'm feeling good about my new, more-streamlined manuscript. BUT there are a few outstanding issues. And by "few," I mean 41. These are the things that I'm just not sure if I should keep/delete/rework/enhance etc.

At this point, two and a half years into this process of writing a book, nothing I wrote seems funny, original, clever, or, frankly, worth keeping. I know it's because I've read it approximately 399,998,221 times and nothing's funny after that many reads.

Or, you know, at least I hope that's why. Maybe it was never funny, original, clever or worth keeping.

And what I'm really struggling with right now is when your brain is at this level of mush...when you've read and re-read and re-re-re-read it and you're so burn out that you curse the day you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, maybe I should write a book!" how do you keep editing? Keep staying the course?

I know that if I'm ever lucky enough to land an agent and then even luckier to land a publisher and its inherent editor, that I'll definitely be doing many more rounds of edits. And I'm fine with that. In fact, I'm better than fine with it--I'll be thankful and thrilled. Because then I won't be alone! I'll have professional, knowledgeable, authoritative guidance to steer me.

But right now, three steps back from that, when I'm all alone and just trying to refine this thing in the slim hope of someday landing an agent, it literally feels like I'm in the dark and shooting randomly in any and all directions.

Argh. Any comments? Thoughts? From those that are here? Those that were here?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Snip, Snip...Sob...Update

I continue in my slash and burn campaign, trying to get Baby Manuscript to fit in its yoga britches. I started out at 147K words. I'm now down to a far-more slender 134K and I'm only 60% through the book.

What started out as a daunting task/horrifically painful process to consider ("But what could I cut? Where?? Every part is so precious!!!!") has actually become an empowering process of shedding the unnecessary.

It reminds me of donating clothes that I no longer need/wear/want. Sure that sparkly tube top brings back beautiful memories. But let's be honest, I'm in my mid-30s. It's time to part with the sparkly tube tops {sob, thanks for the memories, old friend}.

And once I finally dove in and started cutting, I have to admit, it does feel pretty darn good to lighten up!

What about anyone else? Find slash and burn painful? Liberating? No biggie? How do you deal?