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Posts Tagged ‘Challenge’

Okay, I failed – mostly. I did not write yesterday. But I did write today! For 20 minutes instead of 10 to make up for yesterday. I’m becoming rather pleased with the progress in the rewrite and am beginning to have rather high hopes for it. But I am sure you are curious as to why I didn’t write yesterday.

Well, I actually had a pretty good excuse. I was in meetings most of the day and then we started spring cleaning! We were cleaning right up until we fell into bed with exhaustion – and only completed one room.

For those of you who don’t know, spring cleaning is a far bigger event than most people realize. At least, PROPER spring cleaning is. Because it involves moving all furniture and scrubbing or vacuuming behind it, wiping all baseboards, washing all walls (and using Mr. Clean sponges on the stubborn marks), unloading all cupboards and pantries to wipe them out and re-load them, and, the most important part, scrubbing all hard floors on hands and knees. Yes, hands and knees. I’m sorry, but no matter how good modern mops are, they still do not do what scrubbing with your own two hands will do. My husband didn’t believe me until the first time we did it. Ever since he saw the water after scrubbing a supposedly clean floor, he’s a huge advocate of proper scrubbing twice a year. And of course, washing all curtains and dust ruffles and rugs.

And if you don’t believe me, you should try it – just once – do proper spring cleaning and you will be stunned by how much dirt you actually get up, how much work it is, and how much you love the feeling once it is all done. It’s all that gets us through that 4 or so days of cleaning – the memory of how it feels once it is done. Of course, having a pitcher of margaritas on hand for last night while cleaning also helped, but that is neither here nor there.

Good luck to all of you who are also conducting spring cleaning!

Spring-Cleaning-Posted-500

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I did actually do my 10 minutes yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to do a post. And I did them again today (just now!) So far, I am not super far in rewriting that scene, since I am doing it really in 10 minute increments, but it is interesting to me to see the different turns it is already taking. Like, so far the essence has remained the same, but the characters are behaving differently. My pen insisted on looking at Keith’s point of view instead of Josie’s when Josie went to check on her mother, and they ended up sitting awkwardly in the living room right after he arrived instead of him watching her attempt to cook in the kitchen. I am trying not to think too much about what I have already written in hopes this comes out more naturally than that one did and so far I think it is succeeding, since it seems much more natural for Josie to send him to the living room than invite him into the kitchen. Also, it’s fun to create again instead of just editing.

'It was a last-minute change, but a good one.'

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So, I worked on the book during lunch today – but rather than continuing the normal editing process, I decided, particularly after discussing it with a friend, that I just don’t like this section as it is. So I am going to try actually re-writing it as opposed to editing it, and then comparing the two sections and seeing if I can make something out of that. So I began rewriting it – by hand. Sometimes I think that writing by hand really helps with creativity. You can’t easily see the previous words – especially if your handwriting is as awful as mine – and it is a lot more difficult to go back and erase and rewrite and rewrite again. So sometimes when I am having creativity issues I’ll try writing by hand for a little bit and that helps significantly. Since this section needs a lot of help, hopefully it will do the same.

Writing stages

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I am on page 51 of 104. Sometimes I think that, rather than editing this entire section where Keith is snowed in at Josie’s house I need to just push aside what I have and write it again. There is so much that just seems awkwardly phrased. But then again, the part is supposed to be rather awkward, so maybe it is just the situation and no matter how I write it, I will be unhappy. So I will struggle forward and see what happens. And also Josie’s mom is kind of whiny. But then again, she is sick, and who isn’t whiny when they are sick? Being a writer is so hard. Sigh.

00688-funny-cartoons-writer

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We had company tonight until almost midnight. I woke up at 9:00 AM and immediately started baking. I took a break to get some supplies from Costco and Whole Paycheck – er, I mean, Whole Foods – and then cooked some more. I made a lovely cake roll filled with pudding and whipping cream, Chocolate Revel Bars, Lemon Bars, Caprese Skewers, and beef stuffed crescent rolls. A rather good spread, if I do say so myself especially since we didn’t know we were hosting until yesterday. It was really fun actually to focus on some baking. I do love it and I rarely do it now that I am ALWAYS on a diet.

But anyway, although it is now almost 1:00 AM I did my 10 minutes of editing! I am on page 50 of 104, so not nearly as far along as I originally thought. I think this section focuses far too much on telling rather than showing, but I haven’t quite figured out how to “show” something when it is one person struggling through realizations as opposed to conversations. I wonder if other authors have trouble with that too?

ediing

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I am supposed to be working right now, but apparently after working 9-10 hour days all week to make up for being sick last week, and being extremely productive while I was at it, my brain is a little tired now. No, it has nothing to do with being up until 12:30 last night. Nothing at all. So I decided to talk to you all instead for a few minutes.

And yes, you caught that right, I was sick AGAIN last week – this time with influenza so I was definitely out and it was especially not fun since my mom was here again for training. Daniel had to take care of most hosting duties. Which means this is the first “normal” week since like early February, and we’ve been trying to work back up to the whole diet/working out/getting up on time thing again.

Unfortunately, the need to make up the 8+ hours I had to take for being sick (and that was with working from home!) has really taken away most of my writing time. I keep meaning to sit and work on stuff, but then I am catching up on food prep and cleaning the house and trying to fit in devotions (how wrong does that sound? I know it is supposed to be the first priority in my life, but sometimes it is difficult to rearrange my brain), and all the other things that go along with rejoining the human race after being sick.

Anyway. I am tired of sitting around and thinking of writing as a second priority (doesn’t that sentence sound familiar? How many times does a person have to come to the same realization before it actually sticks?) and am once again going to give myself a challenge. This challenge is to work every day for at least 10 minutes on editing my book God’s Masterpiece (You know, the light-hearted, sappy, hallmark-like book?). And I am going to do the same thing I did on my last challenge – check in on here every day to briefly say whether I did it or not – since that worked well for keeping me on track for my 15 minutes a day challenge.

My goal is to finish editing it (I actually think it will only take me like a week  if I work on it regularly), send it to one more person to read (this person says she will actually get me feedback, unlike most people I sent it to the first time), implement any edits, and then submit it. Soooo, instead of limiting myself to a week, I am going to say I will do this until I FINISH EDITING IT! Keep me accountable, guys, keep me accountable.

PeanutsEditing

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Apparently my previous post was a little too sobering for anyone to read/like/comment on – which is fine – I am still glad I pushed away my fear of confrontation enough to bring it up. It’s what so many introverts/writers struggle with, isn’t it? That fear someone is going to attack you for your beliefs, standards, work, you-name-it.

Anyway, that actually isn’t what I’m writing about today. The day before yesterday I had an epiphany. Well, okay, maybe not an epiphany, but God talked to me about some stuff that has [hopefully] helped with  . . . well, me.  As anyone who has been reading my posts know, I started a new schedule in January (as I do basically every year of my life) to ensure I had time to work out and write and still have a little bit of an evening – it involved getting up at 5:00 AM. I have been having an awful time with it.

My body has been refusing to adjust to this new time frame. I can barely make myself go to bed early as I internally argue that I am a night owl, and it is ridiculous to go to bed at 9 or 9:30, and that is like when the peak of my energy often happens. Which results in little sleep as I very crankily rise at 5:00, and rush through calisthenics/stretches, getting dressed, doing my hair, putting on makeup, finishing assembling my stuff, and rush out the door to beat HOV hours, grabbing lunch and breakfast on the way and feeling generally very disorganized and extremely upset that I have to do this. I usually calm down around 6:15 as I sit down in Starbucks to do my devotions, have a fairly good day, and become cranky again around late afternoon as I realize I have to do it all again the next day.

I felt like I was SERIOUSLY living for weekends, and told myself over and over again I could get sleep then and that that is when I could live, and around Saturday evening, inevitably becoming depressed that the rush and lack of sleep would start again in less than 48 hours. And then thinking ahead to when the next vacation/day off might be that I could be on a “normal” schedule for a day or so.

It hit a peak on Wednesday. Having gotten started on calisthenics about 5 minutes too late, I didn’t have time to even do makeup, and as I walked out, I looked at Daniel and said, “I can’t keep doing this.” I knew I had to figure out something that wouldn’t make me dread every day of every week.

As I sat down to devotions about 25 minutes later, I had a hard time concentrating, the frustrations still welling up inside me overwhelmingly and the obvious suddenly occurred to me – this was NOT temporary. Not if I planned to remain in this job, keep early hours, and wanted to work out and write. I would be doing this for the foreseeable future, and my heart sank like a rock. I just couldn’t. I rather distractedly finished devotions and went to work halfheartedly.

Now, my work has a wellness program – you get points that translate to money if you do things that they consider good for you. One of those things is watching weekly short videos on how to improve your health and your life in general. I began this week’s video as I scanned my e-mails and thought about how I didn’t want to work – and that is when God decided to use a secular means to hit me with a 2×4. This video has nothing to do with Christian life or ethics, but as I listened to their “pep talk” on being healthier, they asked, “What are your excuses in life? It can be anything that might convince you not to work out or eat healthy.” And that is when it occurred to me. My excuse was that I am a night owl. Therefore I shouldn’t be forced to get up early. I should be able to stay up late all I want. As I reluctantly conceded this internally, they continued, something along the lines of (significantly summarized):

Change is not fun. It is not easy. It takes sacrifice and courage to keep going. If it was easy everyone would do it. What type of attitude/emotional reaction do you have to your challenges? Negative reactions will elicit [insert multiple bad physical reactions]. But when you look at something as a challenge instead of an obstacle, you have a different reaction – your hormones rise to the challenge and seek to overtake it. So instead of letting excuses and negative emotions get in your way, look at it as a challenge and rise to meet that challenge.

It was a lot longer than that, obviously, but that was the essence of it. And as they talked, I recalled the verses I am currently memorizing in Philippians 4. Whatsoever things are [honest, true, just, lovely, of good report] . . . think on these things. And I realized that the same thing they were trying to teach – that you should look at challenges in life as a positive instead of as obstacles to get frustrated with – was essentially what God teaches us to do as well. In the same chapter we are instructed to be content in any state of life. So at that moment, I decided to change my thought pattern. I would view my weight loss, writing, and working goals as challenges to achieve –  challenges I would have to work hard for, sacrifice for, and in general act like one of those heroes and heroines I love so much from books who always (somehow in a few paragraphs or pages!) overcome physical difficulties through sacrifice and striving.

I recalculated and realized I would only need to rise 15 minutes earlier (yes, 4:45 AM) to still accomplish all I wanted to, get  home in a timely manner, and not be rushed. So, VERY long story shortened-a-tiny-bit, I have implemented that, along with a more joyful attitude, since Thursday morning (yay! Two days!) and what an incredible difference it has made already. While it is has been difficult to go to sleep early because my body is so used to later hours, I haven’t been chafing inside at the need to do so, and, it is probably partially God’s strength, but getting up at that insanely early hour really hasn’t been bad. I’ve even been cheerful. And I have the appropriate amount of time I need to accomplish everything I need. And when I start to feel that familiar dread, I remind myself that it is a challenge I am trying to overcome, not an obstacle.

Now, I totally realize it has been all of 2 days and next week I could be right back where I was before – but I pray I am not. I pray I take this to heart, because I am pretty sure God is firm on having a good attitude, no matter the situation, and especially when you are trying to be wise with your time and health. Being happy or unhappy is a choice. My choice. And I choose joy.

Joy

 

 

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