Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Year's Memories

Today Jade tells us about her families getaway in the middle of winter. Spending some adventure, fun-filled days in Jamaica is the way to bring in the New Year's and have some great memories. Hopefully everything is back to normal [note: the picture that she included is not cooperating, but as soon as it does; you will see just how much fun she and her family had. And yes; I was a little jealous of the bright sunshine and white beaches]  
    Just four days after Christmas, my husband, son and I waded through ravaged wrapping paper, empty boxes and left our adorned Christmas tree behind. We were on our way to Sunset Resort in Montego Bay Jamaica. There was a lot to celebrate. It was Quinn’s eighth birthday and we were ready to bring in the New Year in a country we had not yet discovered. The snow and sleet were easy to leave behind for 7 full days of all inclusive fun, white sand and crystal clear water. Before you go getting jealous, leaving frigid winter for sparkling hot summer was one of the worst decisions ever. Not because we had an awful time. It was more fun than any of us could have imagined. Even after my husband stomped on a sea urchin with his bare foot and the next day sliced the same foot open after the difficult task of walking while on rum, each day was better than the one before it. The problem set in once we exited the plane. The bite of winter clenched us before we had the opportunity to dig out our winter coats.
            The long drive back to Leesburg from BWI took forever. The three of us were silent.  Bob Marley and Beres Hammond took turns serenading us all the way home.  Flashbacks of climbing water falls, kayaking and searching for starfish took over. Pulling into the driveway was comforting but it made everything real. We ushered our luggage into the garage. Anytime I travel I refuse to bring the bags inside immediately. We didn’t need any stowaways. We dragged our cold tanned bodies up the first flight of stairs. The smell of pine had dissipated. Our once full tree now resembled the one Charlie Brown made famous. Pine needles covered the presents we left behind. 
            The week we returned was a rough one. We all had catching up to do. Quinn took it a step further and caught bronchitis. He ended up missing three more days of school and his teacher sent home a mountain of make up work. My husband’s sea urchin incident was easy to laugh off and ignore in paradise. We even joked that the needles the resort nurse could not remove were souvenirs. Back in VA we started thinking about that terrifying show “Monsters Inside Me” and decided the doctor would be the safest option. I was left to nurse the limping husband and the not so comfortable eight year old. By weeks end we were all cranky and cursing Jamaica. If it weren’t such a beautiful place and if it wasn’t such an amazing trip, Virginia in January wouldn’t be so miserable.
            It’s been a couple weeks now and things are pretty much back to normal. The pictures make us smile and conjure up pleasant flashbacks. At random times we remind each other of the adventures we experienced together as a family. The memories we have are our own. They motivate us to return at the end of this year.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year, New Goals

As the New Year came rushing in, I sat down and wrote out my goals for the year.

How many of us have done this? I'm not talking about goals in general; I'm talking about goals for my writing.

Not resolutions like; I'm going to write for an hour a day, more like; I'm going to write for at least five (5) hours every week.

Goals like, I'm going to spend $500 on attending conferences this year.

Goals like, I'm going to self-publish my next novel but I'm going to PAY for an editor and not give it to grandma or my friend to read.

Those are goals that every author should be making.

Realistic goals; goals that will make you succeed as an author.

My goals; well they are simple. I want to write for 5 hours each week. I want to stop work at 6pm every night and enjoy my family. I want to attend 6 conferences this year. (I'm already signed up for 4) I want to have my novel ready by November 1. (I'm almost finished)I want to be interviewed on radio. (Yep; already crossed off)

See those goals are what I will cross off, when they are completed and replace with a new one.

So tell me; What are your goals for this new year?

Looking good means writing well.

You look good, you feel good….
That was my son’s motto while he played football. He had to be one of the best dressed athletes on the field but it showed in his level of play.
I take that to heart every day. I dress the way I want to feel.
You may be asking: well what does that have to do with writing. Well, I showed you, a couple of months ago, a picture of my writing room and that is where “I feel good.”  So if I feel good, I write well.
Some authors have shared their office space photos with me and some of shared their writing space photos with me and sometimes I look and then I totally understand why ‘they aren’t inspired.”
Maybe it has to do with the hundreds of pieces of paper cluttering your desk. Or the post-it notes that are stuck on everything. Maybe it has to do with the dim light over your computer or maybe it’s because your space is cluttered and the more you sit at your desk; the more your mind wanders to “I should straighten my desk”, or “I need to throw those papers away that are on the floor.” Either way, you mind is too cluttered with cleaning and can’t focus on writing.
Is this to say that I’m always neat and tidy? Heck no! To the contrary, but what I do is; every time I sit down to write; it’s with a clean desk and everything is neat and orderly. By the time I get up; yes, I have post-it notes and paper thrown everywhere BUT I don’t leave it like that. I finish up; then I clean up. So that when I come back, my space is neat and clean and I can get right to writing.
So, the saying; you look good; you feel good; you feel good; you play good.
Holds true for me.
My desk looks good, so I write well.
Simple, right? Now, to clean up this mess before I get my lunch.