Upcoming Writing Weekend

My husband encouraged me to take a weekend to myself to write. I was going to attend a writing conference and possibly pitch to agents, but I guess they don’t do that at this particular conference anymore, be it because of covid or whatever reason. And writing conferences in general can be SUPER helpful, but I felt like the availability of panels to cost ratio wasn’t worth it to me. Hard pass.

So the hubs said, well, why don’t you still go write somewhere and also just take time for yourself? Because the fact is I don’t think I’ve ever spent a whole night away from my kiddo during his entire existence. A few hours, yes. But not a full 24, let alone weekend. And sometimes I feel mom burnout. Hence next weekend I’ve got a hotel booked out of town in a relaxing area where I can write and walk and not have someone crawling all over me demanding my constant attention.

I’m not going to lie, I think it’ll be hard to be away from my boys. But I know this is important. And I’m hoping to have all the pieces sorted I will need for querying agents: the query letter (at least a decent draft), the synopsis, and a list of potentials. I’m hoping to read a little too, since it’s usually a choice between reading or writing these days.

Have you ever taken time away to go write? Or can you write just about anywhere?

I’ve taken time. And I’ve learned to at least plot with my kid around. It’s just getting ideas out, so I don’t feel like it has to be solid gold yet. But it’s been an interesting process. I can go solve a toddler tantrum crisis, get him snacks and whatever he needs, and get back to it. Not huge long stretches, but you squeeze in a few minutes here and there and it’s amazing what you can get done.

I’ll update you more with either a post while I’m in the midst of my getaway or after—or both. As the k-dramas say fighting!

Sort of a view I’ll have | Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Getting Ready to Query

As it happens with most writers, the time arrives when they’re ready to query an agent. I’ve done this many times before and the process is never really a joy (unless you get requests of course). But I still believe in the traditional process. To me you’ve got to do the work either way and I like that a publishing house has more reach than I do as one person. But to each their own with this process.

I’ve finally got my MG Fantasy manuscript in submission state. I think it’s been two years since I started writing this. A lot of that time was putting life on pause for a baby. But now that baby is older I’m back to writing.

Do any of you feel almost possessed by your ideas? I’m a plotter and so I write a basic outline for each novel idea I have. And sometimes it can become a crazy obsession until it’s out. Which is why I like being a plotter. I can get it out in short form so it’s not taking over my total life. And then I can write it at my leisure. I am one of those who enjoys editing too. It’s interesting to see what themes and changes pop up during the first few drafts and how you can shape that into something great.

Look forward to more news on this.

But in fun writing news, I recently won first place in three categories for a contest my writing league held. There’s a little prize money, which is nice, but for me it’s the accolades. And the judges give feedback, which I am 100% about. I feel like when I was a newer writer, having people critique my work was hard. But as I came to realize how much stronger it makes my writing, I’m all about it. That’s not to say everyone’s feedback will be helpful, but it does help to at least consider each critique and see if you do need to strengthen an area or make even a few changes to help. It’s an interesting process.

Good luck to all you querying folk out there. I’m really good at helping others with their queries, at least I feel like I can make some improvements, so if you’re about to query, feel free to hit me up for a quick review. Let’s get these books agented and out to the world!

Review: The Fundamentals of Caring

We were looking for a feel-good movie recently and after scouring the internet for what to watch on any of the streaming services, this little gem came up as an option. Starring Paul Rudd, this movie is about Ben Benjamin, a new caregiver dealing with his own life trauma trying to help care for the typical ornery disabled teenager—though ornery for good reason I suppose.

At first, it seems kind of sad for a feel-good movie, but we continued on as Rudd is his typically lovable self, even if a bit depressed. Ben (Rudd) is inexperienced, but our disabled teen, Trevor, chooses him (likely to harass him) and the journey begins.

There’s a lot of truth in the film, as I think many people go into fields like therapy, care-giving, etc. to fix themselves more than to help other people, and Ben is no different. Though he claims to just “need a job” I think his underlying motivations is to somehow do enough good in the world he can perhaps forgive himself. It’s great when there are these subtle motivations that a movie hints at and never really spells it out. I feel like many movies these days practically shout the motivations to save time or because of lazy writing or both.

It may be obnoxious to some that they don’t tell us right away why Ben is so broken, but instead give us little bits of flashback until we finally uncover the traumatic event that led him to care-giving. I really like when a filmmaker takes time to set up the story instead of bludgeoning us over the head with some kind of point.

The bro chemistry between Ben and Trevor works so well, too. Trevor harasses him at first as a means to control his own life, but when he realizes Ben can see right through him, and treats him like a human being instead of a broken boy to be pitied, you can see the change occurring. That’s some great writing and some great acting.

I know Hollywood is all about the superhero movies these days or anything that can make them money, and I feel like we have too few slice of life pieces like these. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Marvel universe, but it’s nice to just have movies about every day people in every day life.

I highly recommend you see this one, though it’s a bit more mature, so probably not for younger kids. We watch these when the kiddo is in bed.

Rating: A+

What to Blog About

I think a major part of the problem of not paying attention to my blog is I wasn’t sure what to write about. A lot of what consumes my life right now is being a mom and I didn’t want this to turn into another mommy blog, much as I love my kiddo.

But you have to write about what interests you or it won’t happen. And then the brain fog that has settled over my mind since the kiddo was born lifted briefly and I realized I could at least talk about TV/movies and books that I’m consuming. And maybe even get in a few scribbles.

So please look forward to upcoming reviews. I’m getting excited for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series and the Doctor Strange movie that’s just around the corner. But I’m also interested in older movies on occasion, too. The hubs and I like to get the most out of our streaming subscriptions.

See you again soon!

Making Progress

Now that baby boy is getting slightly more independent and I’m getting more rest, I’m working on things. I’m still not great about reading books, but I’m determined to keep on trying. It’s hard because some of them are good, but not great. For me, it’s hard to find a book that really enthralls me. It doesn’t even have to be the best well-written, just if the story is good and moves well. So if you have any MG recommendations, throw them at me.

I’ve started writing the sequel to my “Tower” book. It’s a MG Fantasy. This series has been crazy, it’s like it possessed me and I wrote outlines for several books. I have been editing the first one, but that gets a little humdrum after awhile, so I decided to start writing the second one. I had planned to do it for NanoWrimo, but it just didn’t happen. But I’ve realized I’ve got to spend time writing, even if just for my own mental health. You feel really cut off from the world as a SAHM. Especially in our covid times. It’s hard to keep reaching out when it’s not reciprocated.

I don’t blame them, it’s hard enough to reach out in the first place as a mom. Kids really take over your whole world. And it could be they have family in town, whereas we really don’t. So it gets lonely. But somehow crafting stories can help fill that void.

I just wanted to brag a little about making progress. And I’m submitting a small portion to my writer’s group again. They are so good with helpful feedback. We all critique each other’s stuff and make each other better writers and it’s so great to have that.

How are you doing? Are you meeting writing goals? Or maybe just having fun? What kinds of books are you reading lately?