Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Posting Guilt

I haven't updated my blog for almost two weeks.  I feel horribly guilty for neglecting not only my own blog but also those of my friends. I had a hard deadline on edits for Beyond the Gate, Book II in The Futhark Chronicles.  It was the most difficult edits I've done so far. I won't go into the details here, but at some later date I will vent a little about different expectations from editors. What's a writer to do when one editor demands every 'that' in the manuscript be removed and a different editor puts them back in?  Mmm.
But today I sent off the changes almost 36 hours before my deadline and this during the first week of school and in between two four hour hockey scrimmages, back to school shopping and delivering one child to college.  I think I'll take a few days to just catch up with my friends on facebook and update this blog and my website.
For you bloggers out there, what was the longest you ever neglected your blog or social network? And did you have a good reason?

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Chaos and Whining

Every year of my adult life the middle of August is filled with days of chaos. My past included a few years of coaching and the preseason starts two weeks before Labor Day. Preseason practices entail multiple workout sessions each day, usually morning and evening, and when my sons played football that sometimes meant ‘three-a-days.’

These days I’m no longer involved in coaching and I only have one child playing a sport this year but there’s still enough chaos and disruption to go around. For the past seven years August has also meant the packing up and sending off of a child to college. For those of you who haven’t gone through that yet, don’t worry about crying when they leave. You cry trying to get everything together they need to live on their own. Teenagers obviously think shampoo just appears in the shower when you need it let alone something as mundane as toilet paper. They also have to learn, this means you have to do it, things take up less room when packed neatly. All this involves numerous trips to the store to get all the things they don’t think they’ll need but you know they will. It also includes buying a lot of things you hope they’ll use but they probably won’t. Things like Lysol kitchen and bathroom wipes, shower cleaners and fabric softeners.

Beyond the trips running the one athlete I have still competing are the three inservice days I must attend before actual school starts. And hanging over all the busy, not entirely unpleasant hustle, is the dread of another year of school.

School means the end of sleeping in an extra hour, staying up as late as I wish when the writing bug keeps me at the keyboard and the impossibility of a cup of coffee whenever I want it. It means my writing hours have been cut into a fraction of what they were during the summer months. It means fewer website and blog updates.  Every year I dread August more than the one before. Every year I wish I could leave teaching behind and work full time on my writing. But this year is not the year.

For at least two or three more years, I must hold onto the day job and write into the late night and in moments snatched from my family time. I must whip out pieces of scenes between loads of laundry and preparing meals. How I envy those who can not only write full time but have the kids all in school while they’re doing it. I know from how much I write during the last six weeks how much I can accomplish when I don’t have to work another job eight hours a day. The prohibitive cost of tuition and the state of the economy disallows any thought of early retirement or trying to live on my husband’s income alone until I make enough writing to replace my teaching salary. I love teaching and enjoy spending all those hours with teenagers though there are many other parts of the profession I despise. But I want to stay home and write or better yet, go to my favorite coffee shop and write.

Sorry for all the whining today but what about you? Would you give up your day job to write full time if you could? Would you be brave enough to dare it if you weren’t making money yet? Do you know many authors who actually support their family with their writing income?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm Calling it Research

I've been on a real writing roll the last four weeks and it has slowed down a little but I still hope to have the rough draft done by the end of August on the second book in my latest fantasy series.  I could make lots of excuses for why the fingers are hitting the keys less often but I have to admit.  I've just stumbled on too many good books.
The new library in town started the problem with their grand opening a little over a week ago.  I've been a fan of the collaborative team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child for years.  The hero in their suspense series, Agent Pendergast, is one cool operator.  Both these authors also write suspense on their own but I've never read any of their individual titles.  The library had one from each of them so I couldn't resist.  I like them together more than separate but it was interesting to read their solo books and try to guess how their team works and who contributes what.
I also picked up a book I've been thinking of reading but would never buy because I wasn't sure I would like it and it's a thick book.  The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is historical literary fiction.  I read nearly two hundred pages before I decided if I intended to finish.  It was lovely and I'm going to get the sequel one day soon.
To completely freeze my writing progress, my wonderful sister from Picayune, Mississippi visited me.  She belongs to a book club and always has a few thick hardbacks with her she doesn't want to carry back home.  Usually it's because of the weight but she drove this trip so I'm not sure why she left them with me.  Unfortunately for my WIP she and I share similar tastes in reading material.  The Passage by Justin Cronin, another very long book, completely captivated me.  Two late nights until two AM and one day of letting my family starve and I finished it.  The other book she left me, Under The Dome by Stephen King hasn't grabbed me with that "can't put it down" feeling is still a very interesting book.  Does anyone write dark characters better than king?
Jonathan Maberry's Ghost Road Blues kept me up late one night to finish only to figure out with two chapters to go it was the first book of a series.  Checked today and my local Borders had it and the third book. 
Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series also has me intrigued.  I really want the next one but I'm resisting. 
So today I'm catching up with my friends' blogs, writing a little and hoping to get back in the computer chair.  I'm not buying any more books, not even going into the library and resisting my daughter's pleas to read one of her books. 
So I'm calling my last six or seven days research rather than indulgence in my favorite pastime.  What author do you put everything aside to read?