Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Rush, rush, rush to slow way down. Ironic isn't it? I'm only speaking from my own experience, 0f course. I spend the entire month of December in a hyper state only to wonder where all of the time went. The crazy hustle ends, though, and Christmas day is the ultimate day off from it all.

For me, the holiday is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. It's also about sleeping in and heating up a casserole made the day before. It's about enjoying the presents, laughing with family, and sitting around in pajamas all day.

We used to travel every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but now we reserve our traveling for the weekends surrounding Christmas. That simple change brings joy beyond measure to me.

There's something magical about businesses shutting down for the day. And I love the feeling of "Get Out of Jail Free" when it comes to anything work or chore related.

However you spend your holidays, I wish you a smile, a warm cocoon of joy around your heart, a hug from someone you love, and space to breathe.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Joys of Writing Buddies

The phrase writing buddies brings the warm fuzzies to my heart. Where would I be without the friends who share my passion for writing?

Facedown in the snow with a puddle of drool forming around my mouth?

Hopefully not.

I'll be the first to admit I adore sitting home alone for hours working on my latest manuscript. I fantasize about uninterrupted blocks of time reading, or writing, or both. At some point, however, the need to share a complete and utterly fabulous idea overwhelms me. Or if it's one of those days (you know the ones I'm talking about), a writing buddy will understand the idiotic doubts and gross exaggerations I spout off.

My writing buddies keep me sane.

Who else really understands what writers go through? Only writers. It's true of any industry. That's why co-workers go to lunch and chat by the watercooler. Sharing the trivia of our day keeps us connected.

So, with that in mind, I'm taking a moment to say thank you to all of my writer friends who share my triumphs, my rejections, my ups, my downs, and my need for chocolate. Right back at you! The only thing better than having a writing buddy is being a writing buddy.

Enjoy your week!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Unattractive Quirks

I have a confession to make.

I'm not what you'd call a shopper.

It's not that I dislike stores or looking at lovely trinkets. I've felt the rush of pleasure purchasing something completely enthralling (and non-practical). However, I'm a short-term shopper.


I can only handle very--VERY--short bursts of shopping. I don't care to linger over groceries. I have no intention of smelling every lotion at Bath & Body Works. I can tell in the tiniest of glances if a sweater is right for me or not.

Do I have a point? Well, duh--of course I do.

I realized this morning while I was standing in an extremely long line at Target, and, might I add, surrounded by tens of thousands of other shoppers crammed into extremely long lines, that I have definite unattractive quirks. The thought led me to wondering about my current heroine, who is not a paragon of virtue either.

Just how unattractive are these quirks? Unattractive enough to turn a reader off completely?

Well, I think you need to have an example. Let's look at this morning's offense.

The above-mentioned check-out line just happened to pit me next to an adorable toddler. An adorable, hysterical toddler. Not the hungry or needs a nap kid. I'm talking a future neurotic (maybe the sweetheart will be a writer when she grows up? One can hope...) who every six to seven seconds would scream out "I'm stuck."

I glanced over. Was the tot stuck? Hmm... Her legs were dangling from the cart just fine, arms waving every so often, and she looked as free as a child in a cart could be.

After the sixteenth "I'm stuck," I began gritting my teeth. I can't say I felt sorry for the girl. She might have been stuck--the jury is still out on that one--but I was stuck listening to her scream that she was stuck!

But then I looked at her chubby little face and felt a wave of compassion. Her mom soothed her as best she could. I still wanted to run out of the store and breathe the sweet, cold breath of freedom, but I wasn't a ticking bomb any longer.

Lesson? Heroines can have unattractive quirks as long as they have just as many good traits. My latest heroine would have handled the checkout scenario with more grace than I did.

Maybe I should make an End Year's Resolution? Be more like the heroines in my novels.

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Panic Mode

It's December 3, and the pressure is on.

Yes, pressure to write out a gazilion Christmas cards, to bake an array of delicious cookies, to purchase the perfect present for everyone on the list, to get the house decorated and keep it clean (as if!), to write like a fiend and finish the first draft of this novel before Christmas.

And what does all that pressure bring? Stress. A racing pulse. A snippy attitude. A feeling of unworthiness. It depletes the joys of the season.

I knew it wasn't pretty when I turned off every Christmas song on the radio. I had a feeling it was bad when I hid the boxes of Christmas cards out of sight. This morning when I passed the mountains of laundry, instead of quickly throwing a load in, I glared at the piles and walked right on by.

I avoided the to-do's and enjoyed a steaming cup of sinfully decadent coffee instead. Careful planning is one thing, but all the planning in the world won't put more hours in each day.

This year I'm baking about half the cookies I normally would. The Christmas cards will go out a little later than usual. The first draft of the novel might not be completely finished by Christmas Eve, but it will be close. And I will turn up the Christmas songs and sing my little heart out to combat the Grinch inside me.

Enjoy your week!