Wednesday, August 15, 2007

M is for Motivation (or maybe it's for Moron)

I had a blog all planned on the topic of il bel far niente -- the beauty of doing nothing. I heard the term on a talk radio show as I was driving home from a family reunion in North Carolina weekend before last. I'd planned to practice a little far niente this week and catch up on some reading.

Ha. Ha. Ha!

First, I had a perfectly wonderful adoption story idea pop into my head for the November issue of True Romance. The deadline for that issue is today. I had to do some in-depth research and then figure out my characters and write the story. "I can do this by Wednesday," I thought.

Then I was asked to teach a lesson about writing for the confessions magazine. Our RWA chapter is hosting an online workshop on writing for the confessions and romance markets, and since I've had some success with this, the instructor asked if I minded helping so she could concentrate on the folks who wanted to write short erotica.

I was beyond flattered and stayed up til 2:30 Monday morning writing two lessons. I had to spend time Monday finetuning them but got them uploaded on Monday afternoon. I also set up a contest for the confessions writers and recruited a second judge. (Hi, Angel!)

After getting that done and having dinner with the DH, I disappeared back into my office, my "Concentration" CD playing in the background to block out DH's piano music from upstairs. Then he wanted me to come up to his office so he could show me all the marvelous features of his new Yamaha digital piano. I was already contemplating enrolling in an engineering class so I could figure out the new cell phone he got me over the weekend; learning that piano would require an advanced degree.

Honestly, all I wanted to do was write.

I completed the first draft yesterday morning but had to interrupt my day to make a grocery store run and call the cell phone people because I couldn't access their online server to download my contact list. I finally got back to the computer and I had about half of the story typed into Word when the DH got home from work. I figured I'd throw the burgers on the grill, heat up the baked beans I'd made earlier in the day and get back to the computer by 7:00.

Ha. Ha. Ha!

He decided we needed to install the ceiling fan in my office. It's not that I don't appreciate the fan because this room tends to be a little warmer than the rest of the house and my small oscillating fan died last week. But that fan (and the matching one for the other bedroom) have sat in the garage for at least a month. What was so special about last night?

My Red Hat ladies are having our annual birthday lunch today so that's going to cut into writing time. But I enjoy getting together with them and there's one member who depends on me for a ride since she's blind.

Now I'm wondering if I should plan on installing the other fan tonight. Hopefully I'll finish typing the story into Word after I get home from lunch and I'll have at least the first edit done by dinner time. I already know we're having one of those rotisserie chickens and a salad so I don't have to heat up the house cooking.

This is the fastest I've ever written a story. I was either very inspired or highly motivated or both. But I'm still past the deadline, and I'm hoping the story is different enough and has enough of an impact that the editor will forgive me for submitting it late and still consider it for the November issue.

I'll be absent for the next two weeks while Harlequin editor Leslie Wainger and Blaze author Jennifer LaBrecque blog in my stead. I am SO looking forward to what they have to say.

Maybe in September I'll get around to il bel far niente and we can talk about some serious relaxing.

What do you do to relax?

Photo copyright City of London


Rhonda said...

Oh, Marilyn, your day sounds very similar to mine. Always something to do, some interruption, etc... Good luck!

Nini said...

Wow...worlds colliding and sounding, oh so very familiar. DH has lately been in the mood of, "Nini....come sit with me and watch this gory, horror-filled, kill them all type of movie."

I normally tell him no thank you because i can't watch them.

Then it's a battle of wills. Read while you sit here, just sit here, sleep here. Doesn't he realize i'd rather write?

But anyhow, today's the last day of freedom before school begins tomorrow for me. I'll have no time for writing, unless i can block out time for myself while still doing the food shopping, cleaning, laundry, cooking, grading, schooling, and the rest of the myriad of things that a mom and wife do.

I've decided not to send home a note to the parents (thanx PC) and to just give the students a form to fill out about likes and dislikes. Parent night is the 21st and students come to school on the 22nd. I'll be asking them, if they're at PN about their kids.

Off to finish bringing things to my classroom. I've corralled DS, who promised to help, to come with me and carry my rocking chair for reading group.

Today's word verification is "ooskc"

That's the sound i make a student does something gross...

Nini :)

Angel said...

I have a very similar problem. I think I need to relax more. Just sit around with my husband and kids.

But there is always something to be done. A To Do list a mile long, writing to get around to, bills to pay, errands to run. At night there's dinner, bathtime, homework time, blah, blah, blah...

When does it every end? (Can you see me pulling out my curly red hair?)


Kelley St. John said...

Drive. That's my answer to relaxation therapy, and it works for working out your plotting problems too. Right now, I'm working on a Blaze that comes out next July. I have the majority of it in my head (not on paper yet, but for me, that's much easier if I have gist of the story nailed down in my head). But I've got a few little quirky things I need to iron out, and to do that...I drive. Sometimes a drive around town, to Wal-Mart or the Post Office (where I visit with Brad, my terrific PO clerk and occasionally Maven Linda), and sometimes a two-hour trip is in order. It's even better if the Sexy Cajun will ride along and ask me questions about my characters.

Good luck with relaxing, PM! Maybe a drive would help?


Jen said...

Reading is very relaxing to me. And honestly, my husband has a radar, if I've got a deadline looming, then suddenly a home project that's been idling for a year or so needs to be done NOW! Very frustrating.

Instigator said...

Relax? What's that? I just turned in my book. You'd think I'd take a few days to relax. Nope. I'm antsy. I can't sit still. It's driving me and everyone around me crazy :-)

I spent several hours yesterday playing computer games and felt guilty. I didn't have anything else I really NEEDED to be doing but I felt like I SHOULD be doing something more important. Go figure. In a few months I'll wish I had this no pressure time back again.


Smarty Pants said...

Gee Instigator...nothing to do, eh? Sounds like you need the next couple chapters of my book... :)

There's always something going on, especially in a new house. Things to paint, hang, unpack, arrange, clean, etc. No rest for the wicked. Last night after exercising (yay) I opted for three old episodes of America's Next Top Model and one of Platinum Weddings. That'll shoot an evening, even with Tivo editing out all the commercials.

DB has similar radar. All I have to do is get all fired up to do something and he'll be like - lay down and talk to me or something and then I fall asleep and lose hours where I could get something done. I hate that.


Maven Linda said...

Oh boy -- we all live identical lives (except I don't have little ones now, unless you count the dogs). It's just one interruption after the other.

My husband used to want me to sit in the living room with him while I read; I said, "Sure, if you'll give me the remote so the channel isn't constantly changing, which jars my concentration every time you do it because the sound changes." He still didn't quite get what I was trying to tell him, until I explained that the changing sound was as interrupting as if I talked non-stop to him during a show he was trying to watch. He got it, then, because that drives him nuts. He's really very understanding, if I can come up with the right context.

But the "projects" -- that never changes. Something will sit around for weeks, months, YEARS, and not need doing -- then all of a sudden it has to be done, regardless of what I'm working on.

Just this part year, I've learned to say, "No." Not in an angry way, because this isn't something to get angry about, just "No, I can't turn loose right now. When will you have more free time? I'll try to shake free then." But I've been so pressured this past year, on such a tight schedule, that I've had to do that with almost everything. Things have loosened up now, thank goodness, so I have a little more free time. This past year nearly killed me!

verification word is "chqjjby"

Didn't take the first verification, even though I double-checked it and it was RIGHT! Second verification word is iwhifmhn

THIRD TRY! This one is tvkgg. At least it's short.

Kathy said...

Wow! I stand in total agreement to what everyone else has said. I was trying to read last night and #3 was playing rock music really loud upstairs, which I could hear over the tv downstairs (while #3 was in the study on the computer--go figure). DH put on an old movie I hadn't seen in a while--distracting. And everytime I finally found my place and got back into the book someone asked me a question. Argh! I thought about going to my bedroom to read but was tired anyway and went to bed.


Problem Child said...

To do lists are never done, and there's always a project in the wings.

Kelley, I used to take my papers for a drive when I was in grad school. If I got stuck, I'd go ride around until I got it sorted out. I think it worked because I could talk to myself in the car. 'Course, now I'm home alone all day and can talk to myself all I want--except the neighbors think I'm crazy.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

OMG, this topic is so timely! And I'm late chiming in because I've been running errands. First there was the trip to the car dealer to replace my headlight -- they had the wrong one, so now I have to go back next Tuesday. Then I figured I'd better go to Costco since I was close by and stock up on TP and water and my favorite gourmet cheeses.

Then hubby calls and asks me to go to Sears and see if his bagger is in. I haven't done this yet because I had to get the groceries home first. I'll call to verify, but if it's there, I have to go back to town. Since I'll be so close to Sam's, might as well pop in there and pick up a few things I saw the other day but couldn't buy because the line was huge and hubby didn't want to wait. :)

Oh, and did I mention that hubby was out of white t-shirts this morning and I still have to do laundry? Or that I have to go to Montgomery next week for a friend's graduation from an Air Force school? Or that I will have two sets of company, with no break in between, from 24 Aug to the first week in Sep? (And you know having company entails a whole lot of straightening and cleaning before they arrive...)

Whew, I'd love to do nothing right about now. And I have to agree with Kelley about driving and thinking. At least the errands today involve driving places. :) I just hope the people who see me talking to myself think I have one of those fancy phones that's hooked into the car and doesn't require obvious headsets.....

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

I take a stroll along Lake Huron. My days aren't harried so I guess I'm blessed. :D

Have fun while you're gone. We'll miss you. Your guests sound fascinating!!!

Barbara Vey said...

My crazy days are over. No rushing around, except at conventions. :)

My strolls are along Lake Michigan shores.

Reading and relaxing, that's my "M"otto.