Monday, June 18, 2012

Revis-a-thon Time!

Okay, folks, this is it. I am giving myself two weeks - actually a week and a half - to finish revising my novel. I will be childless until June 28th while my son visits his cousins out of state, so this is my last, best chance to get things done. Perhaps it's perfectionism, or lack of experience, or just cowardice, but the thought of finally committing to one complete set of words and hitting "send" absolutely terrifies me. I know, I know, I've spent five years on this project and am more than ready to move on with my life. But what if it's horrible? What if no one likes it? What if they say, "Great story but your writing stinks?" Or worse, "Great writing but the story stinks?"

I don't know but I will NEVER FIND OUT if I don't SUBMIT it!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

I am finally writing again and it feels great! I got through the sticky dinner scene I'd been dreading so I'll use a bit of it for my Sunday Snapshot.

Here's how the Snapshot works: Post the last paragraph or several lines of dialogue that you wrote. It doesn't have to perfect. It doesn't even have to be good. It just has to be yours!

Here's mine. (a little longer than usual)

Ginger has just met her online boyfriend Roger for the first time, and his sister shows up unexpectedly during dinner. Roger runs a hotel in Germany and Ginger has arrived with a tour group. His sister is grilling her about her life in New Jersey.


“You live in New Jersey, isn’t that right? What do you do there?”

“I run a Victorian tea room.” It had seemed glamorous when she started the business a couple of years ago, but saying it now, out loud to Selbrinna, it seemed a bit like playing houses.

“Oh. Well, Americans like that kind of thing I understand. High tea and all that?”

A throbbing started between Ginger’s eyes. “Yes. And what do you do?”

“I’m married to a minister.”

“A minister of a church?”

Selbrinna laughed and the throbbing in Ginger's head intensified. “Oh, no. The Minister of Internal Affairs. I thought Roger would have told you.”

“No, I didn’t.” Roger’s voice was smooth but there was a note of warning in it.

Selbrinna kept her gaze fixed on Ginger. “Apparently there are a lot of things he hasn’t told you, but then running the hotel takes up so much of his time that he has very little left for socializing. Do enjoy your stay.” She drained her glass and got up, leaving her plate untouched, and kissed Roger again. “I’ll speak with you when you’re done here.”

His eyes flashed. “We’re going swimming.”

“Well, when you’re done swimming then. It was lovely to meet you, Ginger.”

Good lord, she said it like she was referring to a dog. Here, Ginger. “It was lovely to meet you, too.”

Friday, June 1, 2012

Whom do you work for?

Attention writers: you may now begin debating the use of "who" and "whom."

But that's not my purpose here. I've been notoriously silent lately because my day job has really been burdensome. I think I'm also going through a midlife crisis. I have a good job. I'm blessed to work with such great people and do something reasonably interesting even though it's NOT writing fiction all day. If you can't do what you love, then do what you do well and can get paid for.

But it's still really, really hard dragging myself out of bed every day, dealing with the commute and the guilt for not being there for my family. We're all gaining weight due to our horrible diets and lack of exercise. It's so hard to think about cooking, exercising or even writing at the end of a draining day. I know I whine a lot to my coworkers and friends. They must think I'm the biggest spoiled brat in the world.

It's not that. It's that I keep wracking my brain trying to think of a way to DO this and be HAPPY. I don't sleep well, I'm stressed to the point of panic attacks, and I'm so FRUSTRATED as a writer I just want to cry. Actually I do cry. A lot.

I started taking St. John's Wort, an herbal mood supplement. It helps. And some different vitamins. And trying to get to bed earlier.

But something happened a few weeks ago that really put things in perspective for me. For one thing, the Lord blessed me with a very personal little insight, a tender reproach that makes me tear up even now thinking about it. He said very gently, "Christine, don't you know Me by now? Don't you think that I am with you and that I will bless you for your faithfulness in this time?"

Well, yeah. He has a point there.

Another thing that happened around the same time was a visit from some missionaries our church supports. They were Steve and Gail Quigg, with United Methodist Aviation Ministries. They go around the world educating missionary pilots on aviation safety. The work that these pilots do in remote areas is dangerous and irreplacable. You can see a video of it here:

I've heard them speak before, but this time Gail led our Sunday School time and I got to hear her talk more personally about her ministry to the pilots' wives as well as their need for a bigger plane that uses regular fuel rather than the very expensive and difficult to obtain airline fuel that is often stolen before it gets to them.

I realized as she talked that my working full time wasn't just for my family, it was for her and all the other charities I support. I spoke to her afterwards and told her how down I'd been feeling, but being able to write a check for that plane - a drop in a multimillion-dollar bucket, to be sure - made all the heartache and frustration worth it.

I realized that I'm not just working for my family, but for missionaries, hungry children and disabled veterans. Those are the three causes I personally choose to support. There are many others that I just have to turn down. Being someone who likes to give at least $50 or $100 each time, and who sometimes writes larger checks when I can, I get on the mailing list of "preferred donors" for certain charities. That means I get the special appeals when there is a crisis somewhere far across the globe. Being able to give is a gift in itself.

So I ask you, whom are you working for?