Tag Archives: writing life

Mother’s Day Musings

If there’s one thing I seem to write about more than anything lately, it’s motherhood. It’s hard not to write about what consumes your life 24/7/366 (Leap Year, holla!) I wrote CRyP6VWVEAAyeiRabout my mom in 2014  and about my first Mother’s Day last year. This year I wrote about celebrating Mother’s Day in the hospital for Preemie Babies 101.

As cliche as it sounds, I had no idea how much my life would change once I became a mom. Granted, I also had a complicated pregnancy, a premature baby, and a very hard first yeaCaya51mUUAA51Nir as a parent with BB in the hospital for so long and coming home on a feeding tube. The writing life I knew before having a kid is gone. My leisurely days in the cafe with my writing partner are far and few. It’s more difficult to write at home in my writing cave with the sound of a toddler running after dogs overhead. I’ve yet to master writing during BB’s nap times because a) they are practically nonexistent and b) I’m so exhausted from chasing a F3 tornado that I nap. I’ve got the kid who needs even less sleep than I do.

And so my writing has changed this year. I’ve struggled with the fact I’m no longer as prolific as I once was. When the words don’t come easy I throw a toddler-sized tantrum on Twitter. The middle grade novel I’ve been working on for two years has started and stalled too many times to count.

Despite all this, my writing has gotten better. When I do find time to write, I write. My words are careful if not meticulous at times. I don’t have time (or energy) to do anything half-assed now only to scrap it later. My time is valuable. I love my kid and want to be with him as much as I can, so all the time I leave the house with a laptop in hand I have to be productive. Otherwise, what the hell am I doing? I could be using that much needed me time to go to the gym, to read a book, or take a nap. 12309897_10207436962496748_320479077348579794_o

BB took his first steps on a night I was out writing. As soon as my car pulled out of the driveway, BB turned from the baby gate and took six steps toward my husband. I was halfway to the cafe where I meet Kristin, another writing partner, when I got the text You’re missing his first steps. To be honest, I cried. I’d just spent the last 12 hours (none of which included a nap) with BB and he’d shown no signs of walking. But I didn’t turn my  car around and go home. I drove to the cafe where I bought two lavender bubble teas and wrote a chapter in my middle grade novel, pausing only to watch the videos of BB walking that my husband texted to me. It was then that I realized I’d probably miss a lot of firsts and that was okay. Writing is important to me as is time away from BB. That space allows me to be a better mom which makes me a better writer, but I’ll save that for another essay one day.CO_HqMNUEAARh6W

Since becoming a mom, I’ve returned to my first love: flash fiction. It’s what I started writing years ago, publishing my first short story in 2003. The first real thing I wrote after BB was born in the hospital was a 200-word flash piece which I recently sold to 200 CC’s. “Agenda” will be published later this summer. Flash fiction is a perfect outlet for me now. I can get my thoughts and ideas down and challenge myself without the mental fatigue. I’m writing more now than ever because it’s easy to dip in and out of a short story, unlike my MG novel. I’m carving out time to write short pieces on my lunch break at work, in the evening after BB has fallen asleep, or while my husband drives. In 2016 alone I’ve written 7 nCdxyJ3NUsAAtBDrew flash pieces and three essays and I’ve placed four pieces. I’m now a contributor to Preemie Babies 101 thanks to a door opened for me by another writing mom.

As challenging as motherhood is, I’m extremely grateful for the direction it has led me in my writing life. BB won’t be a F3 tornado forever and maybe I’ll crank out two novels a year again like I used to. In the meantime though. I’m going to embrace the insane moments and use them as inspiration for flash fiction and essays. And I’m going to keep working on that middle grade novel. With any luck, it’ll be done by the time BB can read.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under short stories, writing

Choose Your Own Adventure: Revision Edition

You are midway through a rewrite of your novel, one that you and your agent wants turned around fast due to the nature of the market and the timeliness of the piece.

During your rewrite will you

a) throw out your back after sitting on a yoga ball for way too many hours and from doing hot yoga five days in a row

b) have to replace most of your sewer line after a 60+ year old pipe breaks and the backup causes a flood of sewer water in your basement which also houses your revision cave

c) both

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I spy in this 7ft hole a root and a broken clay sewer pipe

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This old spoon better be worth a million dollars to pay for this mess

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My beautiful front yard is now a death trap. Good thing I procrastinated on Spring gardening this year.

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Inside the Writing Cave Part 4

Inside the Writing Cave Part 4

I have my own Catbrarian to oversee my books. And yes, that far shelf does contain 75 Babysitter’s Club books.

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February 23, 2014 · 3:19 pm

Inside the Writing Cave Part 3

Inside the Writing Cave Part 3

My desk includes: Sun lamp, balsam fir candle, Mojo, an inspirational purple cow (gift from writing buddy Alex), Diet Coke, electric tea kettle, revision notes and copy of work in progress. Not pictured: tears of frustration. Revisions are hard!

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February 22, 2014 · 5:13 pm

Inside the Writing Cave Part 2

Inside the Writing Cave Part 2

This is seriously what my desk drawer looks like: tiny bottles of Baileys, rum, chocolate covered cherries, candy bars, Luna and Lara bars, some pink markers. Underneath it all is some tea.

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February 19, 2014 · 10:03 am

A Peak Inside the Writing Cave Part 1

A Peak Inside the Writing Cave Part 1

I’m spending the next few weeks holed up in the Revision Cave (a cold and windowless room in my basement that doubles as my office). As you can see, I’ve stocked up snack essentials.

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February 18, 2014 · 4:56 pm

Reflections and Resolutions

I can’t believe 2013 is almost over.

Actually I CAN believe it because I’m looking at a calendar and today is Tuesday, December 31st.

You know that saying that goes “The days are long but the years are short?” Somehow all of my days in 2013 seemed extra short.

It was a busy year as years go. I traveled to Florida, Alaska (via cruise), and to Vancouver, B.C, I spent nearly two weeks wearing a backpack and exploring the rain-soaked countries of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Montenegro with the husband in May.

I got an agent

I wrote two full YA novels and 1/4 of another

I finished NaNoWriMo

I started a SEKRIT PROJECT and started thinking about another

I got my first check for selling a short story and I wrote something for LITERARY REJECTIONS

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I also took a lot of unflattering photos

I tried to run a half marathon but was side-lined by platar faciitis

I ate a lot of pizza

I discovered Cards Against Humanity

I didn’t win the lottery

I read 230 books. Most of them were amazeballs. A few sucked balls

I went to ALA in Chicago

I didn’t quit my day job

I dyed my hair pink again in an effort to relive 2007

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I took a lot of selfies with my dogs

More shit probably happened, but I can’t remember.

Which brings me to 2014.

I’m lousy with resolutions. I never keep them. This year I vow to do only two things in an effort to keep things simple:

1) Not be an asshat. This covers pretty much everything.

2) Stay healthy.

Of course there’s a ton of stuff I want to happen in 2014, and things I want to try. Maybe I have a picture book or MG novel in me. Maybe I’ll finally sell LETHAL or SECRET HEART or something else. Maybe I’ll write THREE books next year.

If 2014 brings me half of what 2013 did, and I stay healthy and not act like an asshat, I think things will be okay.

And with that I leave you with Camera Obscura’s “New Year’s Resolution”  which has the best opening lines of a song ever:

New year’s resolution – to write something of value
New year’s resolution – to write something would be fine

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NaNoWriMo Tips for 2013

I’ll keep this short because if you’re like me, you’re behind on your NaNoWriMo word count goals and it hasn’t even been a week.  Instead of writing, you’re sitting in front of a space heater, eating an almond “ice cream” sandwich while watching The Wire.

Wait, you’re not? Okay, it’s just me.

Hopefully you’re cruising along in your manuscript, throwing down words like they were gang signs (I need to turn off the The Wire). But if you aren’t, here are a few important things to remember:

1) No one said your book has to be good. All of my previous NaNoWriMo projects were a sh*tstorm of suck. Only  last year’s story rose from the ashes after several rewrites and is now a shiny, pretty thing in the hands of my agent. 

2) WEDD (Write Every Damned Day). Even if it’s 400 words before work, or 500 words on your lunch break, or you 1667 words after your household has fallen asleep. By writing a tiny bit each day, you’ll slowly chip away at that 50k goal without killing yourself.  It’s much easier (for me) to look at what I can do in 15, 30, or 60 minutes and call it a day rather than fret about how I can squeeze out 6k and still do laundry/ buy groceries/ go to hot yoga/ eat food other than leftover Halloween candy.

Besides, by WEDD, you’re cultivating writerly habits that will help you succeed later in life if you choose to be a writer.

 

No one said NaNoWriMo was easy (if they did, they’re lying), but it’s not brain surgery or rocket science. It’s putting words down on a page and walking away. Stop overthinking it.

Get back to work! (or watching The Wire. I won’t judge).

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Money or Art?

Today I posed a question that’s been haunting me all week: do I follow the money or the art?

This was in regards to cutting down my dedicated writing hours (I average 12-15 a week) in favor of working more hours at a job that pays me with real money. 

I was torn. I don’t NEED the money, but I WANTED that extra cash to fund things like my pink hair and books and meals that I don’t cook. But I also didn’t want to sacrifice my glorious write dates with my writing boyfriend AR Kahler or time spent watching The Wire with my girls. I knew that bumping up my hours at work would mean cutting into my writing hours. I know plenty of people who write and work full time, but frankly I’m not waking up before dawn to squeeze an hour of writing in.

Then Alex reminded me: 

@DanielleDregerB ah. Do both?

@DanielleDregerB then no. Art. You are making a career of writing, you have to foster it

 

This was EXACTLY what I needed to hear/ be reminded of. Art first.

 

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This is me minus the caffeine pills

In just a few words, Jessie Spano pretty much sums up all my current writing emotions and thoughts.

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March 21, 2013 · 8:18 am