Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Am I being productive...or just wasting time?

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my excitement at going to the Revision Retreat hosted by the Highlights Foundation.  I am still really excited about the retreat, though I’m also getting a little nervous now—it’s less than a month away!—and I also have a few other writing  seminars coming up now.  I signed up for the NOSCBWI fall conference in Cleveland, including a face-to-face critique.  I really love going to conferences and am happy that there is one close by that I can attend.  The talks are always informative and motivating and I just love the energy of the conferences.  It’s great to be around other writers and feed off their successes and excitement. I also wrote a piece for an exhibition with my local SCBWI chapter and signed up for a query writing seminar as well.

 It took some time to find and sign up for all of these events, and since then I’ve been feverishly working on my manuscript before turning it in over the weekend for critique.  (That last thought is almost literal—I was really sick a few weeks ago with a high fever but continued revising anyway.  Maybe that’ll be good practice for some future time when I’m a published author and have strict deadlines.  Well, a girl can dream at least.) My brain keeps telling me that I’ve been very busy and productive on the writing front.  I guess that’s true, but with all of these seminars to prepare for I’ve realized that I haven’t sat down to write any new material in quite a while.  I still have plenty of chapters to write for the current version of my manuscript—half a book still needs to be thoroughly revised actually—but I’ve been so focused on activities related to writing (that don’t actually involve much writing) that I haven’t been making any forward momentum of the manuscript.  I guess I’ve been tricking myself into thinking that I’m being productive…or maybe all of this preparation really is productive.  I’m conflicted about it, but ultimately I need to attend events like conferences and retreats so I guess I don’t have much choice in the manner.

I wonder if many people deal with these dilemmas? I can’t be the only one who fills their days with blogging, scanning the internet for upcoming writing events, reading, reading other people’s blogs, blogging about what you’re reading, tweeting, reading author/agent/editor interviews, and on and on.  Man, please tell me I’m not the only one! It’s just so easy to feel like I’m being productive without actually having to do any of that damn writing that I claim to love so much. 

Now that I’ve caught onto my brain’s very cunning tricks, I definitely plan on thwarting them and writing today.  Probably.  Just as soon as I look at a friend’s blog and read a few more tweets from my favorite authors.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Revising (...and partying!)

So, in the week + since I registered for my Highlights workshop, I’ve basically been doing two things. The first, unsurprisingly, is working on my manuscript before I have to send it off to be critiqued by the workshop leaders.  Even though I know that this workshop is devoted to revising, I don’t want to wait until I get there to make some of my revisions (particularly ones where I know—or think I know—what changes need to be made).  I’m sure I’ll have more than enough new edits to make when I get back so I might as well accomplish as much as possible before then. 

The second task I worked on last week was hosting my son’s 2nd birthday party.  Totally unrelated to writing, but I couldn’t hold myself back from mentioning it and posting some pictures.  We decided to do a Paddington Bear theme. Come to think of it, I guess there is a bit of a writing tie-in here since Paddington Bear picture books are some of the most classic and popular PB books sold in the UK.  I’m a total Anglophile so Paddington Bear is right up my alley, but I know most people in the US (including some of the guests) don’t know a lot about him. He really is very cute and I’d recommend getting a few books out of the library sometime if you’ve never read them.  I actually did exactly that and decorated the whole first floor with books.  Fun!  (And cheap—even better!) Plus, I enjoyed doing something a little different instead of Elmo or Spiderman.  Of course, I know I’ve got plenty of that in my future as well! Below are a few photos of the big event.

Lots of Paddington Bear books as decorations on the bookshelves.

More books on the shelves. We also took pictures of L in a blue PB coat and strung them on the fireplace as decorations. 

Here are some pictures of the cake.

And some photos of all the yummy food, complete with coordinating luggage tags so none of the guests got confused about what they were eating.  ;)

Now I’m back to revising again. I’ll let you know how it goes when I come up for air.

And Happy 4th of July!  Hope you enjoy the fireworks!