It would seem from the blog that I have utterly fallen off the face of the earth. This isn’t quite the case.
I can tell that I’m getting ready to go back to writing. The ideas are starting to flow again and as the weather warms my inclination to knit wool will taper off. I found myself thinking out conversations between Dominic and Joy as I drove across town the other day and I have started listening to a playlist again that I sort of reserved for writing hours.
It’s coming, slowly true, but it’s coming.
Meanwhile we are 24 days from the due date of our daughter. Where did the time go?
Tags: musing, sequel
A very merry Christmas to you and yours!!!
Just in time for last minute shopping, Lulu is offering a discount again!
Conveniently, the code links to my author page.
I forgot to mention in my last that I have done some writing over Thanksgiving break. Instead of working on Joy, Now and Always, I pencilled out a quick sketch of a story I told my children on the trip. It’s about a dragon and a village and how they manage to pacify him since no one else will help them get rid of him (knights are always too busy and the king doesn’t really care what happens to them as long as they pay their taxes). Now if only I was an illustrator…
I wanted to update you that I shall in all likelihood be taking a writing break until the holidays are over. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (sniff–rest in peace, Andy Williams), but for a lot of us it is the Most Gloriously Hectic Time of the Year. We are hosting family for both Christmas dinner and again around the New Year. We have family driving through who may stop in and we have our own traditions to cultivate, update, or maintain. I may be in and out on this blog and I may even squeeze in a few hundred words now and again, but I refuse to pressure myself to finish by Christmas. You who have encouraged me to continue Joy’s story do not need something that has been rushed through. I promise to return to writing in January when the New Year brings with it a clean slate and plenty of time to concentrate on my projects (instead of baking lists, Christmas cards, wrapping paper, etc). I am always more ready for projects in January. In fact, it was only this past January that I picked up Joy again and finished the first story, and I’m much closer to finishing the sequel so I could almost safely promise that the sequel will be full ready for Easter baskets. But that depends on the leniency of editors. I do want the sequel finished by the time my new baby girl arrives in March. “So let it be written, so let it be done.”
But after Christmas.
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Just in case anyone wanted to add a little Joy in the Ordinary to their gift list….
I’ve decided. My Christmas verse counts as my writing for the day. It ended up being 149 words but I had to edit for the sake of brevity. Shutterfly only had so much room on the back of its card, after all.
I’m 718 words into Chapter 8, which isn’t as grand a start as I’ve had on some of the others, but then, it’s been a crazy two weeks around here. Every morning I get an alert on my phone reminding me to write at least 160 words, thinking I should be able to accomplish that. Some days yes, most times the opportunity escapes or my morning quiet is needed for other pursuits. Yesterday, for instance, I was hampered by two of my girlies being up early, and as our computer is also our television, they couldn’t fathom why I’d want to stare at a white screen with black letters on it when I could be watching Thomas the Tank Engine.
Instead I’ve also begun work on a lesser item of importance that begins to occupy my thoughts around this time every year: THE CHRISTMAS LETTER. About four years ago I got sick of writing the usual stuff. I didn’t want to write anything that made my kids seem like the paragons of their age group and since my husband and I are pretty much the same year in and out, it was like “as for the two of us, he’s still with Z Company and I’m still homeschooling and we’re still loving it and each other and our hobbies and etc.” Boring. So I started jazzing it up by one year doing a Christmas Alphabet and the next three something in rhyme. Last year I did a spoof on “The Christmas Song” and this year I’m rewriting “O Christmas Tree” as seen from my point of view: “O Christmas Tree, Our Christmas Tree / We hope you last the season.”
The problem with doing this is that I feel obliged to do it every year. Just when I get fed up and feel like doing what everyone else does and put a card in an envelope and mail it, I hear from someone who liked last year’s offering and they say they can’t wait for this year’s. Drat. My vanity is flattered. So I sit down and try and think up something. Ok, so secretly I do enjoy it and I do enjoy sending Christmas cards. But I attest that it is harder for me to write a little verse for a card than it is to write a novel. I am not a poet, yet somehow my Christmas verses sound better in rhyme. I guess it’s kind of like how most things sound better if you say them with a British accent.
To make a long post short, does a Christmas verse count for my 160 words for the day? I hope so.
And if you’re wondering why I worry about it this early, it is because I do not like mailing my Christmas cards on the 21st of December. At that time, I prefer to be wrapping presents or making the cookies for us to enjoy during Christmas week. So, to avoid spending my Advent writing and addressing cards (pared to a minimum, I am still mailing 125 cards a season. We’re blessed that way), I really do need to begin thinking about it around…now.
I just finished Chapter Seven moments ago. What a relief! Now I only have Chapter Eight and Nine and I should be able to continue rereading and editing. If you had asked me in January if I thought I would be doing this, working to complete a second novel, I would have laughed. Joy wasn’t even finished in January!
Meanwhile the weather here in my adopted state is feeling very much like a proper October, which it isn’t apt to do around this time of year. When my editor was reviewing Joy she amusedly pointed out that I had used the terms “crisp autumn air” three times in two pages. I hardly believed I’d overlooked that, so I went back to amend it. Sure enough, I had indeed overused that term, but I teasingly replied that it was the part of growing up in Indiana that I miss the most. I still feel a pang of jealousy whenever my parents or sister calls with news that they are in sweaters while we are in shorts, and they have a frost warning while my air conditioner is running (something very un-Octoberish about that), but then I get them back in March when my windows are open and my flowers are blooming and they still have dirty snow and slush on the roads. HA.
Random digression. I will now go make a cup of tea to celebrate the conclusion of a chapter.
Did you think I’d disappeared? It sure feels like September is going fast. My progress has slowed of late, although I’m still 1900 words farther into Chapter Seven than I was when last I posted. Part of this is due to the fact that two weeks ago I went on a late-night P. G. Wodehouse reading binge. I can’t help it; he’s one of my absolute favorites. In order to enjoy the books without interruption, I’d stay up late finishing the story and oversleep into my writing time, so that I had to pick up and start my day without it. But back to Wodehouse for a second–if you’ve never read him, start with this gem, and see if you don’t get hooked. Once I start a Wodehouse I can hardly put it down, which becomes a problem if I’m reading during a personal tea time because I can easily gain ten pounds eating while absorbed in his stories. The same thing happens with Mansfield Park and Wives and Daughters. It’s a rummy thing, but I don’t have a huge amount of American literature on my shelves. I sat back one day and took a look at my reading material and figured that about 89% of it comes from British pens. This random insight has absolutely nothing to do with my sequel, incidentally.
Another excuse that kept me from writing is the fact that I’m knitting a sweater for my newest niece, who was born this very morning. Her Baptism is next month and as my husband and I are godparents, we want to come bearing gifts in hand, of course, and as I’ve taught myself to knit more since the birth of my last niece, this one gets the sweater. She won’t give a care, of course, at her age, but since I’ve been promising my sister a little handknit something or other ever since the 20 week ultrasound, I want to do it!
Luckily while I’m knitting I’ve also been thinking of the sequel and how it’s going, and just as with Joy I’m finding I’m not going to end the book exactly where and how I’d planned. It will still end on a positive note, but the time and setting might just be shelved for a future work. The original ending of Joy became the basis for Chapter One of the current work, which was all to my advantage. Still, the current story threads point in the new direction, so I’m going to go with the flow and see where we do end up. That’s the greatest fun of writing anyway.
Tags: sequel, thoughts
I loved the three-day weekend. The kids slept late every morning (we went to the 10:30a Mass on Sunday) so my husband graciously let me get some good writing in before everyone woke up. The result? Chapter Six was completed Tuesday morning!
I’ve found that lately my optimal writing time is not after the kids go to bed, as it has been in the past. Lately that results in me falling asleep in front of the computer, which is not good either for productivity or for the muscles in one’s neck and back. So I’ve been trying the novel idea of actually getting sleep at night and waking early to see my husband off and get some writing in while the house is still quiet and the coffee is still hot.
I’m over 2400 words into Chapter Seven. I’m planning 9 or 10–originally 10 but I could wrap at the end of 9 the way the plot is playing out. As my official word count is already over 60,000 words, I don’t think anyone will tell me it is too short!
So, folks, we’re in the home stretch!