Spring Break Update 2015

Work has been enjoyable of late, so I was oddly concerned about Spring Break breaking my rhythm. I honestly didn’t feel like sitting at home for a week, and, since I’ve recently begun querying agents, I didn’t have much to write. Don’t get me wrong – I’m planning the next manuscript, and I’m enthusiastic about it, but it isn’t yet time to start writing the thing, because I haven’t gotten the characters and conflict worked out in my head just yet. I haven’t even hit that moment when I’m ready to build outlines. I’m just thinking. Therefore, there is no significant chunk of writing to be done this week.

So, my concern for the week was how to fill the time. This is the first break from work that has probably EVER concerned me in this way.

Still, there are always things to be done… people to see, messes to clean up, errands to be run. I began by spending an evening with Steve and Lori, which is how nearly every break from work begins for me. However, this time, there was a distinct purpose: reset the check engine light on my car. I borrowed their code reader, and we worked it out. The next morning, I woke up bright and early, and drove my ancient car down to the emissions place. I went through the whole shebang, passed, and decided to take the long way home. Ten minutes after passing, the check engine light came back on, and I celebrated. I felt a distinct sense of, “I’m going to start my own band and we’re going to lead a revolution!”

Next, I spent a good, long while at the sbucks, finishing up the registering of my car.

Next, I went to the Tucson Festival of Books, which was delightful. I love the festival for so many reasons, but a new one that I observed this time is how beautiful it is to hear authors speak, because of the subtleties that cling to those who care about language. Example: I can hear the difference between “affect” and “effect” when an author pronounces the words… it’s lovely.

In addition to the beauty of authors’ speech, I also heard some incredibly writerly ideas that fueled my drive to be published. The authors spoke of how “great” only has real meaning in its aspiration, and how Joseph Heller evidently examined his success with Catch-22 and tormented himself a little bit about his inability to write another book as good as that one… until he concluded that the reason he’d never written anything as good as Catch-22 was because nobody else had either. That made me smile.

One more thing that struck me at the festival this year was the number of authors who’ve written books in multiple genres. When I read about writing online, there’s such a push to build a “brand,” which often means writing the same type of book again and again, so that readers who love one type of book will come to rely on you.

But I don’t want to keep writing the same type of book.

I want my next project to be for adults. I want it to be satire. I want it to be hopeful. I want it to be a clear and immediate separation from the first book.

So it’s reassuring that other authors have found success in crossing genre barriers.

I left the festival, went home, and walked.

I’m at an interesting place with the running, because I’m about to start legit marathon training (it doesn’t count until you’re more than half way there), and I’m super-excited. However, I’m supposed to be tapering this week, because I’m running a race this weekend… but I don’t feel like tapering. I feel like running. That’s never happened to me before, so we’ll see if it’s an asset in the race this weekend.

Finally, I paid my taxes, then went to church.

At church, things were falling into place in a frustrating manner, mostly because God seems to have laid out a path for me that I’m hesitant to walk. I sort of wish (in a half-hearted way, of course) that He’d leave me alone. I know that’s not really what I want, and that His plans for me are better than my plans for myself, and yet, I still would rather do what I’d like to do.

I’ve been slightly obsessive lately about the secretary position. It’s a highly secular thing for me to be doing, and sometimes I feel as if God is separate from it and I’ll have to keep myself from drifting, but it seems He’s weaving things together and placing me where He would have me. Also, there was one of those odd moments when someone I hardly know cursed around me, then apologized and proceeded to say something like, “I hope you’re not one of those good, Christian girls.” I was all, “Actually, I am.” Then he felt the need to explain his aversion to Christianity, and we were able to talk like normal human beings. It ended up being nice, but you never know where those things are going to take you in the long run.

Other than that, I’ve got a race to run, a tattoo to get, books to read, people to see, and relaxation to have. I’m looking especially forward to getting dinner with Donna Brenda, who I haven’t spent time with in ages. I reconnected with her on Facebook, because, yes, I now have a profile. It includes false info about my age and a few other things, but it exists. And I intend to figure out how to get it to stop posting every single time I update a book on Goodreads… I don’t intend to be “that person” on your newsfeed… I just don’t know how not to be just yet. Give me a month before you block me. 🙂


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