Lisa Manifold

Writing From the Top of the Street

Tag: kids

Book baby thoughts

So in two short weeks, my literary baby will be heading out to stand on its two little feet. Like any parent booting the kid out, I’m nervous.

Now that it’s finished, I know it. I KNOW it. My editor asked me a flurry of questions the other day. I knew the answers to every single thing. Some of it wasn’t anything that was in the story, but it was part of the arc that I knew. Know. By heart. After the amount of time it took to get those details sorted, that is a thrilling feeling. I’m all atwitter even as I type it.

Like a child, I know so much about Book Baby. I know the whys, and there are things that are non-negotiable. No, my character will not be buying a vowel (I used medieval spellings for some of my characters names. I’ve gotten a little…flack for that). No, I will not change that name. (Another character.) There are things that when I’ve gotten suggestions to change I think…eh. It doesn’t change what I want to share and makes the work flow smoothly, so sure. Why not? There are other things I get absolutely stalwart about and WILL. NOT. CHANGE. I’m always surprised by both.

And while the writing of it was a solitary thing, the getting the book out there is NOT. Not at all. My editor has been invaluable. My bestest critique partner has been as well. My critique groups (I have two, I know, I know, but they both kick ass, so there it is) have shown me things that I wouldn’t have considered. They’re also completely unafraid to tell me the truth. It’s couched in the criticism sandwich, but they say it.

I’ve wanted to finish and publish a novel for…oh…years. I did some serialized bits last year, but it’s not the same. Technically, it is, but it sure doesn’t feel the same. I’ve been in a daze since I concluded that I was done. And ready for the editorial eyes to latch on like a lamprey.

I was reading a blog somewhere else – it was Hugh Howey, I think – and he said that he never wanted to lose the joy that came from publishing something new. I agree. I never, ever want to lose how wonderful this feels. Of course, being able to speak coherently in full sentences would be nice, but I’ll live.

So if you have that novel lounging around in your head, waiting to get out, time to get to it. I won’t lie – getting this finished – to the point where I was no longer saying, ‘Oh! Just one more thing!’ is not easy. But it is easily one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.

So there it is. tl;dr – Go write your own Baby.

Late Night Rambles

What. A. Week.

Kids are back in school, thank god! and oh, how I miss them! Seriously, trying to keep to my writing schedule with the shorties around is going to take some work once summer hits. And it’s not like I toss them bread and scare them off with evil glares and fist shakings.  We do stuff. This spring break, we skied. Oh my lord, the best snow hit just in the last week… and I am on a deadline. I MUST find a way to get a day up there….ah. Ehem. Sorry. Got distracted.

Anyway, scheduling for summer is something that will take some consideration. Right now, we’re considering camps, LOL. Can I be squeal-ly mom for a moment? My oldest wants to take the week long sailing camp! I am so excited! He and I got out in October and had a wonderful afternoon, and we saw kids his age heading out and he was instantly intrigued. I am thrilled that at least one of my kiddos is going to (hopefully) love the water as much as I do. The younger one wants to do roller hockey. I’m totally in favor of it, as long as there’s a mouthpiece. And drama. Whatever they are interested in. We’re still searching for the thing they really love to do. I didn’t find mine until my twenties. So if they don’t, it’s fine.

Okay, enough with the distractions. I dumped quinoa on my work space this week. An entire bowl. And I was all pleased with myself because I was going to finish reading something and eat and be ready for a conference call. Ha ha! Not quite how it went down. But the quinoa is gone.

Here’s the baddie – I lost 7,000 words this week. I don’t know what happened – it’s like I didn’t even work that particular day. Nothing I worked on saved. And I saved throughout the day. I searched for the lost work, but no joy. It’s a bit alarming. On a positive note, I rewrote everything that I lost, and it was tighter, and had a better flow (like how I’m doing that?) and I moved myself into the next piece of Exciting Plot much more easily than I expected to. So that’s good.

My turn-it-in-or-you-get-banned date to Amazon is this Friday. I’m going to make it, and be in good shape, but Amazon is sending an email a day, and it makes me nervous. But I’m glad they send out the reminders. If I was still working outside the home, I’d need it.

Speaking of which, how did I get anything done when I was working? I am glued to a schedule now, and I don’t have to do anything other than shop, the errands, and some doctor appointments. All things I did when working. But I try and put in at least five hours a day on writing/writing related concerns, so I think I get edgy when I feel other non-writing things intrude on my work hours.

What else? Oh. I LURRRRVE my editor. She is a copy editor by trade, but as she reads the genre I’m writing, I asked for a reader POV. Her comments are hilarious. I scrolled through just the comments yesterday. At one point I was practically crying. And yet she swears she doesn’t like to write. But she’s so funny!

I joined another critique group. It has a different vibe than my original group – which is not bad. I really like it. It’s why I decided to keep going when they invited me to stay. I am so fortunate that I don’t have the words to express how fortunate I am. I have two groups of talented writers that I get to work with. I can tell you that even with the looming deadline this week, I’ll come home refreshed and stay up too late after each group. Because you leave there fizzling with ideas. It’s marvelous.

So I’m off. Just took a break because I can’t make my girl go where I want her to. I figured a break would be good for both of us. Maybe she’s a little less sulky. Maybe I am too.

writers block 2

Parental transitions

Like many of you, I’m a parent.  My kiddos are elementary school aged.  Thankfully, we’re beyond the kindergarten years.  They can tie their shoes, get themselves dressed, manage a lot.  Age appropriate things, but I am encouraging independence.

I didn’t always do that.  I did a large number of things for my kids because…why?  I don’t even know now.  I was – AM – somewhat of a control freak.  I like to do things my way, and get them done in a timely fashion. I don’t want people messing up my stuff – insert house, kitchen, laundry, whatever.  Even if I don’t like taking care of the chore, I like it done the way I like it.  Most of the time.  There are some things I do not care about.

But when it comes to my kids – I seem to care about a lot more than I ever thought.  Much to their and my dismay, LOL!

So last year, I went back to work outside the house.  I had worked from home prior.  It was very flexible, though, and my business partner and I always worked around our home schedules.  Then we found that our priorities had shifted, and dissolved our partnership.  All amiably.  She’s still my BFF.  (Tip – write a business plan and include in there how you plan to end the business.  How will assets be split, how will things be closed down.  Best advice we ever got, along with how to end a disagreement.  Ours was a coin toss.  My side was tails.)

So I stayed at home for a while, and then my spouse and I decided that we had plans for retirement that needed action now.  So I went back to work.  I’m glad that I have.  It’s afforded us a direction in life that we probably couldn’t have taken otherwise.  However, it has necessitated transitions.

The biggest one is as a parent.  As I said, my kids are much more independent than when we started our home business.  I’ve learned to step away from the cruise directing, as my family calls it.

Part of me misses it.  I worked a full day today, and had an event after work.  I didn’t get home until half an hour before the kids were going to bed.  Even though they weren’t totally interested, I made them come and sit with me, and snuggle, and tell me about their day.  I miss being the one who already knows how it went.  I worry that when they do stuff, they may do it wrong.  Or get hurt. Or have someone make fun of them. Or…or…or.  That list can go on forever, as my fellow parents know.

I always thought, when I was knee deep in stinky diapers, and multitudes of spit on clothes, and crying, and catching the wandering toddlers, that I couldn’t wait for them to get a little older.  It had to be easier, I thought.  I was right.  It is easier.

It’s also harder.  Letting your chicks venture out of the nest is scary.  I want to gather them to me and not let them go.  I know the world, and it’s not always the easiest or nicest place.

My kids are doing me proud.  They make mistakes, and when I see it happening, I nearly clench my fists to stop myself from jumping in to help.  I bite my tongue, and let things play out.  Kids get a great sense of achievement from navigating challenge on their own.  I have to remember that.

Some days, the mounds of diapers and spit on stuff was easier.  So go hug your kids a little extra tonight, while they’ll still let you.

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