Hello 2019! Good riddance 2018.
No, really. 2018 was not a great year for me. Don’t get me wrong. I had many memorable moments that brought me joy, but I had a bit of a rough year at the same time with having a second hand surgery, my father passing, and my 1st born moving to New York all on the front half of the year. All those events in one way or another impacted my ability to write, either physically (since my right hand was tied up in a splint) or psychologically (because of the sadness of losing two loved ones close together, even if one of those loved ones would be coming home for a visit by the end of the year). I completed far less in the course of the year with regards to writing than I would have hoped. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not getting down on myself for it. I’m disappointed, but I’m not ashamed.
Like I said, I had a bunch of memorable moments. I was able to send one of my kids off to England for a week-long adventure, and then watched him have a great Freshman season playing soccer for Alma College. I had two other kids, still middle schoolers, who were Student of the Month. In some respects, my father’s illness and subsequent passing brought me closer to my brothers. I got to see a side of each of them that brings me profound respect for them both. My son, who moved to New York without any prospect of a job or even a place to live when he got there, has made me proud with the way he’s used his brain and his resources to find success. In less than a year, he found several jobs on-set in the film industry AND made it into the electrician's union. He wasn’t mugged or murdered! (I know. I have a messed up bias of New York. I should visit and get that bias fixed, right?) At any rate, I have a LOT to be thankful for. And I am very thankful.
But here we are in 2019. New year. New goals. One of my goals is to either read OR write every day. So far, so good. I received several books for Christmas this year and I dove right into them. I was also invited to join a second book club and started reading the book they’ve selected for January. When you consider that I presented an Editing workshop to my local WriMos on the first Saturday of the year, some people might say my productivity is off the charts. (You can find my handouts from that event here.)
But I need to get that writing stuff back on my daily calendar too. I was all set to go home last night and get some editing done. I procrastinated. I started going through a month’s worth of email that I had set on the back burner. (There just isn’t enough time in a day for everything!) One of the emails was from me. Back at the end of November, I had sent myself some notes about creating a word tracker like NaNoWriMo has, where I can enter a desired word count, then track my daily word count. In no time at all (or rather, a couple hours), I had whipped open Excel and created a worksheet that not only tracked my daily word count against my annual goal, I also added tracking for hours spent writing and editing. (You can get your very own copy of my 2019 Goal Tracker here.) Now I just need to start writing and editing and put some numbers in it.
And here I am, procrastinating with a blog post.
Happy New Year everyone!
So, writing about myself has always been hard since I’ve never been one to want to toot my own horn. I’m more of a “Here, read my stuff and think I’m amazing so I don’t have to tell you anything about me” kind of person. (Here, read my short stories to see what I mean. Go ahead. I'll wait.) But, for #pitchwars, I’m going to take a swing and #pimpmybio. Check this out if you want more info as an author who wants to pitch to a group of mentors who might help you add the final gloss on your polished manuscript: http://www.lanapattinson.com/pitchwars-2016-pimpmybio/
I began my journey of writing as an author and illustrator for a short period of time at the age of four writing Dick and Jane style stories. See Rick. See Rick eat the meat. (My dad’s name was Rick and it was a perfect fit - ask my mom, it’s true!) Shortly thereafter, I became an avid reader, a complete you-always-have-your-nose-in-a-book junkie that drove my father insane (WHY?!) until I hit my 40s. I interspersed those novel-devouring years with occasional journal entries and some writing for national non-fiction magazines. An avid reader, I joined a book club and hosted discussions for some of my all-time favorite books to share my love of them with others. Oh look, here they are!
While I’m not real picky about what I read, my favorite stories have the theme of survival at the base of them, specifically survival in the face of doom. I love apocalyptic tales that delve into science, with Dog Stars by Peter Heller and World War Z by Max Brooks being two of my all-time favorites. (I’m also the first one to the couch when The Walking Dead comes on!) My first experience with the genre was when I read Eco-Fiction as a young teen. It’s a collection of short stories put together by John Stadler, and it introduced me to Isaac Asimov and John Steinbeck. Later, I discovered Frank Herbert, reading The White Plague before latching onto the Dune series.
After science-y apocalyptic stuff, I lean toward fantasy. My uncle gave me The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series by Stephen Donaldson and I think I read all seven books in four weeks. When I finally got my hooks on Game of Thrones, I read those five books in two weeks. I couldn’t. stop. reading. In either case. And oh my God, I could just keep on talking about all the amazing books I’ve read, so I’m going to pull the reins and get back to telling you about me. See how I distracted myself away from that?
I mentioned some of my favorites being series, but my first novel, a contemporary YA adventure called ARGENT GLASS, is not intended to be anything other than a stand-alone. No matter how I ended it. (Clue: Have you read Soylent Green? I absolutely LOVED how that ended and worked to finish my novel with the same dramatic flair.) I am self-edited, and though I am a self-proscribed perfectionist, nobody should edit their own book completely. Too much of it is in our heads and nobody else can see that stuff. Editors help us get it out of our heads and down on the paper!
What I think I've put into my story, which has the dreaded multiple POV (I was warned not to do this several times and still couldn't help myself - my next novel is plotted out and has only one POV. Maybe that will appease the masses of naysayers.)
As a skeptic, I never believe anyone when they tell me something I’ve written is “great.” I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop and crave honest feedback on a story not because the person likes me (I think I’m pretty likeable!), but because he/she thinks the story could be better. I know I’m not a genius and my feelings are not easily hurt (I grew up with brothers, the biggest critics IN. THE. WORLD.). I look forward to finding that special someone who will read with an eye on making my story even better (though I think it’s currently a pretty darn good read).
You want more about me? Really? You’re still here? So weird. Okay, here goes.
I’m married to a man who lets me be me. He will let me make my own mistakes and discover my own solutions, only intervening when I ask him to. This may not sound like much, but this is huge for a girl who grew up believing life wasn’t fair for girls and who became a fierce feminist unafraid to try to make her way in a “man’s world.” He feeds my brain with new ideas on the daily, patiently listens to my rants, and is a great father to our sons. I adore him for all of it.
I love watching my four boys play their sports. They swim and dive, and play soccer and baseball. We are constantly on the run and though I complain that I need more time to write, I wouldn’t change a thing with regards to being their chauffeur and biggest fan. I have a special affinity for each one of them in our own unique way. My oldest is the most like me, though he may not like my saying that. He’s fiercely independent and a terrible communicator – just because we don’t talk to you doesn’t mean we don’t think about you every day. The next is my kindest, but also ferociously competitive. He wants to see everyone succeed, but he wants to be at the top of the achievement pile. The next one is my artist. He captures my heart with his hand-made comic books and gorgeous art. I expect to find his books on a bookshelf near mine one day. And finally, the baby of the family. He’s this funny little mash-up of everything I love about his brothers. It’s like he watched me admiring them and picked off the traits he thought I liked best and adopted them as his own, which of course makes him near-perfect.
Two amazing dogs complete our happy home. They are recently misbehaving because the Alpha female has started vying for more attention. She tore open Big Boy’s ear in a snarling match over treats that the neighbor brought for them the other day. Poor neighbor was mortified! Little Girl is a Catahoula Leopard from Louisiana (a rescue shipped all the way to Michigan!) and Big Boy is a Black Lab/Boxer mix (also a rescue). They are gorgeous, happy dogs that bring joy the minute I walk in the door via intensive nasal investigations and sloppy kisses.
Besides writing and being a busy mom, I work in IT. I’m an expert at Word – seriously, ask me anything! I love researching stuff on the Internet and learning. “Learning what?” you ask. Learning everything! I’d be a full-time college student for the rest of my life if it paid better.
And there you have it. Clearly, I could write a book about myself. Hmmm…