Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Top page count

I have figured out that the top page count I can manage is 40-45 pages per day. That's it. I've discovered that I need a mental break of about 45 minutes to an hour for every ten pages or so that type. Even if I am still awake and have more time to write, I get to about page 42 and the neurons refuse to fire anymore. Its almost like they organize a walk out. I have also learned that it is dangerous for me to drive after an extended writing session. Like you've had a bottle of Nyquil. Very weird.

The ghostwriting project is outta here!! I'm so happy I could spit! I had to set a few things aside to get it done, so I will be getting back to those this week. Now that I know that sustained effort will produce tremendous page counts, I'm excited to give it a go on my other projects. I'm also contemplating starting a monthly newsletter as my contact list has grown. Maybe something with writing tips and new and exciting market directions...what do you all think? What would you like to see in a newsletter?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Looking forward to the Holiday

So much to do, so little time. I have really been looking forward to this weekend. I have many writing projects to work on, but I also plan to play in the dirt some. I have a few more roses to plant and I bought some pompass grass to fill in a large eyesore out back by the alley. We will be kidless so I hope to get many things on my revolving to do list done including sending out several queries for projects I hope to work on next month. That's the thing about freelancing. You only get out of it what you put in and if you get lazy the bank account shows it.

I also spent the morning hearing about a cruise to Mexico my friend Bruce just got back from. It was on the same cruise line that we will be traveling on in September. I can taste the sea spray and fruity drinks already. September seems so far away, but I know it will creep up on me suddenly just like graduation did. I still need some markets for the cruise articles so I'll be sending those out the beginning of next week. I will also be printing up my fliers to distribute at the FiW conferences for the classes I am beginning this fall at Amarillo College. I hope some of my former students will be receiving awards at the conference they are incredibly talented people.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Middle of the night....

Okay I realize it is the dark dead of night....but still.....I got a few articles scanned yesterday and posted them to their links on the website.I realize that it's no big deal to most, but for the web challenged it's really somthing.

I was rereading the article on Romancing The Big Easy. I can't help but think back to those days in 2001, when we went to NOLA.....I wonder about those we talked to - those who are left.I still wonder if things are okay;how are they coping ....what changes have they made.I want to be there...to ask....to experience......to relive the incredible VIBE that is New Orleans.I emailed a magazine to see if they are interested in this kind of story. Hopefully they will be. This is a story of human frailty, human perserverence...How could they not be interested?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Blah Blah Blah

You never know how much you can really get done in a short time until you are pressured to do so. I know I've always been a deadline kind of writer. I NEVER miss a deadline. Maybe that stems from being an editor and having to deal with flaky writers who missed deadline after deadline and then turned in crap. So I have this really big project and I figure to get it done I have to produce volumes of pages. Over last few days I've done 80. Can you believe it?? 80 freakin pages. Granted it's nonfiction, which I'm pretty comfortable with, and its in an area that I happened to like very much but still.....80 freaking pages!!

This begs the question, Why is it taking me so long to finish my other projects?? Am I just lazy or what? I think it's because I don't have a deadline. If someone was standing there waiting on the finished product, I know I'd already have finished. So here's the deal sports fans. The summer (June & July) will be my clean up months. I hereby vow to finish the first draft of Come As You are by June 30. I also vow to finish the rewrite on Frenemies and SEND THE PROPOSAL that's been sitting on my desk since January. AND I promise me and the powers that be to get my nonfiction book proposal finished and out the door before Conference. And that's by July 26th.

Make no mistake that I will still be pumping up the freelance articles as well.....very busy summer ahead.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Graduation Excitement

Graduation went really well. North Carolina is such a pretty place. And as always, Duke is soooo organized. We left last Thursday and spent several days with the kids before the big day. We drove to the coast, visited the historic district of Raleigh and ate at the Angus Barn, which is apparently the Big Texan of North Carolina - sort of. The decor is similar, large barn-like structure with antler chandeliers and primitive type wood tables. But everyone is very dressed up - and so is the menu. It was great for a graduation celebration. Graduation itself was a great experience and I can hardly believe that I have a kid that is a college graduate. I should feel old, but I don't for some reason. I'm really proud of her. I have pictures to follow as soon as I figure out how to get them on here.

I also read two books while I was enroute (well I actually read four, but didn't like two of them so we won't talk about those). One of the good ones was the new one by Mary Kay Andrews, Savanna Breezes. Its struck me as really ironic. I am working on a book that is in two first person points of view, but I hadn't seen it done well by anyone currently out there. But this book was a perfect example of two first person points of view done very well. And it worked.

The other one I read was a book called 'The Book of Joe'. This was a really interesting read. It is about a writer who wrote a scathing book about his home town that was made into a big movie and then, when his father has a stroke, this writer has to return to face a whole town full of very angry people. It's funny(especially the part where the reading club drives by his family's house and flings copies of the book on the lawn) but also delves into the idea of how to resolve old hurts and heartaches and still come out not seriously screwed up. For any of you women who are writing from a male point of view for some of your scenes, I highly recommend this as a study in what guys think and how they relate to each other.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Maybe Myrtle

My sister and I are traveling together to the graduation extravaganza this weekend. We had to fly out on Thursday, since it's mother's day weekend. Who holds graduation on mother's day? Apparently Duke, and every other college in North Carolina. So we will have some time on our hands before the big event. We're thinking about taking a day trip down to Myrtle Beach. My husband and I went a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. It's no South Padre, but still is nice.

I may see if my sister wants to go down to the plantation we visited last time that's south of Myrtle. It was a strange and unusual experience. It's hard enough to confront the idea of slavery and what that meant in your head, but to go and see it in person was pretty hard. The thing that bothered me the most was that some of the people, who were period actors, had ancestors who were slaves on the property. I couldn't hardly grasp what that must be like and still can't . But I would like to go again and take some awesome pictures with my new camera.....which is STILL in the box.

Its always fun to go new places and see new things....and then return and hit the highlights again. One highlight we will not be experiencing is the Cooper River Bridge! Once was quite enough!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Graduation Excitement

So my oldest daughter is graduating college at the end of this week. I can't believe it. I remember when she left like it was yesterday.....wait a minute it WAS yesterday. And now its over. Just like that, she's a grown up. She called last week squealing(yes, squealing) as she had signed her first lease on a little condo in Durham, where she is planning to make her new life. I can hardly remember that kind of excitement, and refuse to dampen her spirits one bit with talk of 'reality land'. Let her be excited. You're only young once.

I also bought a new digital camera to take on the trip to Durham, though I haven't taken it out of the box yet. I got a nice one, reasoning that my kid will only graduate once and I don't want crappy pictures....and then there's the cruise this fall to consider as well. I want great photos of that too.

I worked on several projects that are in various stages of completion this weekend. I also went to Linda Castillo and Ronda Thompson's book signing. They are always a treat. I plan to try and get some work done the next three days before we leave for Durham. We'll see how far I get, but I have to think that I've come pretty far already, and I just have to do at least One Thing everyday. What one thing did you do to further your career today?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

CEO of My Career

A big thank you to all those who gave feedback on the new website! The overall response was very positive. As I organize my writing more and more these days (I have to because I'm paranoid that I'm going to forget to do something) it occurs to me that I should focus on the long term and not get overly distracted by the short term though both are important.

I've been rereading the book by Jim Collins, Good to Great. I read it before, but I don't think I got as much out of it. His book is one of the definitive management studies of the 1990s and very applicable to anyone trying to run their own business. And writing is definitely a business. I'd highly recommend it for those of you who may be struggling with which direction to go. It really gives good insight into planning for the long term and focusing on those things that will get you to your goal rather than being distracted by the everyday crappola. The whole idea of my two year plan (now down to 21 months) is build the freelance(which is short term income) and still concentrate on the books (long term income). It is just taking me a little while to learn to juggle them both.