Reflecting on this year of writing

This post to my blog is going to be brief as it is a time for appreciating family and valuing time spent with them.  But as I reflect on this past year I am also appreciative of the time I have been allowed to spend writing.  This year I made the decision to take my writing more seriously and persue it as a career.  With that has come some big adjustments for both myself and my family.

Finding balance has been the hardest part of this whole writing gig but I think I’m dialling it in.  I now spend my day-time hours plopped down at my computer taking on the writing target set for the day.  Once the kids and hubby get home I revert back to mom mode.  Setting a writing schedule has helped me protect my writing time without letting it take over every waking minute.  

The biggest change for our family throughout this process is the fact that everyone has to put in more effort and share the household workload.  I wasn’t Superwoman before this process started and I’m sure not now so I need some help.  It was an adjustment for them that they are only now starting to get the hang of.  We all manage our intellectual work during the day and work together to manage the house at night.  

The learning curve I’ve been on lately has been a hectic one that left me feeling more than a little burnt out.  I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, or the trees for the forest, or the trees, or the forest.  Doubts start creeping in and I know it’s time for a break.  Time to step away and put some distance between myself and  my work in progress.  So that’s what I’m doing at the moment.

Christmas break is a wonderful time to spend with friends and family and re-connect with the important people in your life.  These people have given me the gift of time to be able to chase my writing dream and I will forever be greatful to them for that.  So while I’m still thinking about my writing, I am enjoying the hockey games, cross-country skiing, and the cuddling movie nights.  

Christmas Magic

I just love everything about the holidays.  Well maybe not the late season craziness of all the last minute shoppers.  I could do without that.  But there is so much that makes me happy about the Christmas season and I wanted to share some of my favorite things about this time of year.  While I love the spirit of giving and peace on earth and all that stuff, this list is about the smaller, more simple parts of the season.

Christmas Lights

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I don’t know what it is about Christmas lights but I could sit and stare at them all day.  A properly lit tree or house is the epitome of magic for the season.  Even as a kid, I would get up early before anyone else and sit in the dark enjoying the lights of our tree.

 

 

Decorations

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I can never seem to get into the Christmas spirit until we have put up our tree and decorated the house.  We usually do this as a family with carols and the addition of my next favorite thing.

Egg Nog

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Every year before we decorate we buy our supply of egg nog and maybe a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to put in it.  It’s one of those traditions in our family that doesn’t feel right if it’s missing.  Of course, part of that tradition is missing for the kids.  They aren’t allowed the additives the adults are.

 

 

Snow

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I know!  I know!  How could you like the snow you ask?  Well, it’s simple.  No matter how cold it is, no matter how miserable it is to travel in, there has to be snow.  A brown Christmas is not satisfying to me at all.

 

Family

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Now I include close friends in the mix here as I have an extremely small circle of friends. (by choice and yes, I am anti-social)  Spending time with the important people in my life is worth more to me than any gift ever could.  They are the thing I value most in life.

 

The Joy On My Kid’s Faces

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Hands down, this is my favorite part of the holiday season.  They aren’t so small any more but the joy they get during this time of year hasn’t changed since their first one.  Seeing their faces light up melts my heart every single time.

 

 

That is a few of the things that bring magic to my holiday season and I hope you enjoy them too.  I would have added books but that lasts all season so it’s disqualified.  It is always the little things that mean the most to me.  Have a safe and happy holiday season.

My Book Progress and Writing

Book and Writing Update

I figured I would take time and do an update on the book and my writing. What a crazy ride this journey has been. Up to now it has been about a year of serious writing, re-writing, editing, re-writing, and yet more writing. You would think I would have 5 books by now, jeesh. To say this process has taken longer than expected would be a gross understatement. I have learned so much but this new knowledge only displays how much is left.

When I made the mental switch from dream to a possible career, I was resistant to many of the things I would be required to do. The modern author needs to wear many hats and wear them well. I looked at my dusty, worn out baseball cap and realized that hat won’t do anymore. It was time to re-invent myself and love a new hat. But my new hat smells funny, and itches, and makes me feel like a fool… or is it only a new hat.

The first step out of a cozy comfort zone is a hard one to take but if you don’t, you’ll get nowhere. So here’s me stepping out of my comfort zone and tripping over every lesson I need to learn. I’ve never had a problem embracing failures as a part of the learning process so that hasn’t been too hard. The hard part now is all of your mistakes and failures are a public affair. Please accept my apologies for dragging you throughout my learning process.

The reward is the overall book progress. Depending on the day you catch me it could come along well or could be the worst bit of writing anyone has ever seen. Sometimes this happens within a single day, too. This process will mess with your mind. After making so many changes, there’s times where I’m not even sure what I’ve written anymore. Sigh! But I’ve continued on to keep writing the story hoping it will be worthy of a reader’s attention one day.

At present I’m still writing the second draft. I took a small diversion to edit the first chapter to a basic level so I can put it out. It needs to be proofread before posting but it should be soon. I didn’t realize the second draft would be soooooo labor intensive and I can’t say I’m enjoying the second draft as much as the first. The first draft was like playtime and the second draft is much more like a 30 page essay on how modern plumbing has changed the world. Fun times.

The closer I get to putting something out there, the more anxiety builds. It’s a very vulnerable place to pour your heart and soul into a project then expose yourself to criticism. This darn editing seems to drag on and on the closer I get to hitting the publish button. It will happen soon so please keep an eye out and let me know what you think.

 

How is a writer like a paramedic?

Most of my adult life, I spent working as a paramedic. Now my interests are leading me down the path of a writing career… I hope. And as I travel along this journey, I can’t help but notice similarities between the two careers. So I’d like to share my thoughts on how even though I’ve headed in a different direction, I’m still experiencing the same issues.

How is a writer like a paramedic, you ask? Let me tell you the ways…

  • Crazy Lifestyle–The lifestyle of a paramedic is not a regular one. You forget what a weekend is, you work shift work, you miss most holidays or birthdays, and the start and end time of your shift is more like a guideline. Many times you’ll eat or sleep at crazy times or places or both. Now I’m writing, I find many of these same issues apply.
  • Both Have Voices In Their Head–In both careers I dealt with self doubt and learned that voice in your head is not a reliable one. Should I do this… maybe, I shouldn’t do that… until you’re paralyzed with indecision. Either way, you need to decide and own it. Voices be damned. Of course, there’s a lot more voices in my head while I’m writing so that makes for good conversations.
  • Poetry in Motion–Like a fine wine professionals who are skilled at their craft, whatever that may be, only get better with time. Everyone transforms between the start and end of a career but not all reach the same level. When you find someone who operates at the top of their game magic happens, poetry in motion. While I am not this level, as far as writing is concerned, examples are all around us and they are a wonder to behold.
  • Emotional Rollercoaster– There’s no surprise working as a paramedic involves a multitude of emotions. Just imagine what a bad day at work is like for these folks. You can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows often in the same day. These events will be forever burned into your memory. Dealing with these issues is difficult but important. When I started writing, I would experience these same emotional swings.  At least as a paramedic I only had to deal with my emotions but now I’m required to deal with the emotions of all my characters, too. Let me tell you, they are all drama queens!
  • Passion–In both careers, I witnessed a passion for the job unparalleled. Writers and paramedics commit so much of their heart to their work and it shows. Neither is about the paycheck.   Deep within is a fire that drives them to be the best they can as the stakes are high.
  • Rule Breakers–As is true most times in life, there are rules, you must know them, you must understand them, and at times you will need to break them. Writers and paramedics understand and embrace this idea.  But tread carefully.
  • Survival– Sometimes life just sucks and troubled times come around the bend. Everyone has them so no point hiding. Then it becomes about surviving those tough times and as a paramedic I helped countless people through painful situations. But doesn’t a writer do the same thing? A great book can take you away from your problems if only for a little while.
  • Inappropriate Stories–Hang around either of these two groups of people long enough and you’re bound to get a glimpse of the stories you’d rather not have heard. Both are only suitable in certain circles. Oh and by the way, don’t ever ask a paramedic about the worst thing they’ve ever seen. What you’re really asking them to do is dredge up and recount their worst memory. Those same memories are already intrusive enough so don’t add to the problem.
  • Questionable Browser History–Research is important whether you are writing a book or trying to keep your skills or knowledge sharp. Sometimes what you need to research is sketchy, and I don’t mean in the adult entertainment sense. I’m sure if you could take a peek at the browser history of a writer or paramedic you’ll find this questionable material.

So as crazy at it seems, it’s true. While I no longer work as a paramedic, I did find common ground in my pursuit of writing a novel. Never would I guess that so many similarities between the two careers existed. I hope writing as a career will be as fulfilling as being a paramedic was and with any luck, there’ll be as many stories.