When Not To Take a Photo

I made a lovely cake today.

It was a triple-layer dark chocolate cake, with Oreo cookie filling, frosted in vanilla buttercream, and topped with chocolate ganache that dripped decadently over the sides. High-contrast dark brown on white. And I put a couple of bright red strawberries on top.

Unfortunately, I was also racing out the door two seconds after I put it together.

I didn’t get a picture of it. The food blogger in me is ashamed, because that’s just what you do. You take pictures of what you make so you can post them up for people to ooh and ahh over. But I know I wouldn’t have had time to set up a good shot. You could argue that a poorly composed photo is better than no photo when you’ve taken that much time to construct a gorgeous cake.

On the other hand, no photo is better than a husband who is grumpy that we’re late to his grandma’s birthday party because I made him wait while I took photos for (arguably) my own vanity’s sake.

This masterpiece will have to live on in my memory, until I get a chance to make another one like it and photograph that. When that happens, I’ll have to make sure I’m not running late.

250 Words a Day

I remember reading an essay, several years back, written by a writing professor at a university, somewhere. I wish I could remember her name.

The essay was all about how to be a successful writer, and the author claimed to have the “magic key.”

Two steps:

1. Write 500 words a day.

2. Write a nice, hand-written thank-you note to someone in the industry, once a week.

I’m obviously not currently doing either of these. But for some reason, that “500 words a day” idea has stuck with me. Anytime I hit that 500-word milestone in a day, I feel like I’m really achieving my goals. I’ve mentioned it before.

Now, call me an under-achiever, but I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in my ability to hit 500 words a day, six days a week. I have three little boys, endless housework, church responsibilities, and a husband I’m crazy about — all of which take priority over writing. Not to mention needing enough sleep in order to keep up with it all.

On the other hand, I also find myself wasting bits and pieces of time throughout the day, most notably during naptime, when I should be able to be crazy-productive. Something about having all three boys quiet and/or sleeping at the same time triggers the lazy switch in my brain.

Gotta fix that if I want to get anywhere on my goals.

Which brings me to my point — I’ve decided to commit myself to writing 250 words a day. Baby steps.

250 words a day, at least for now. I can increase it later. This can include fiction, but I’m also counting blog posts, because that works out the same part of my brain.

This post is now over 275 words. See? I can do this.

I will do this.

LTUE 2012

Today is Monday. LTUE is over.

I’m only 48 hours past it, and already the whole weekend is starting to blur together in my brain.

I can’t think of much that really differentiated Thursday from Friday from Saturday. Those three days are kind of a mish-mash of making trips to and from UVU, managing patchwork babysitting, carrying Jack around, attending the occasional panel, and sitting with Darren at the inkPageant table.

Each day was a little bit of all of that.

Which is why, as I’m sitting here trying to write a nice post about LTUE, I’m having a hard time thinking of much that stood out in my mind.

This year I was disappointed to not be able to attend as many panels as last year. There were two reasons for this:

First, we had an inkPageant table to manage. Darren and David took care of much of that. At first I had the mindset that if I only had a babysitter for two hours, I wanted to spend those two hours in panels, not stuck behind a table in the vendors’ room. However, when it came right down to it, I often preferred to be stuck behind a table with Darren than free to attend panels by myself. But it made me a little bit sad, because the things that I love most about LTUE aren’t generally found in the vendors’ room.

Second, Jack isn’t old enough to be away from me for more than a few hours at a time, so I had to either drive home periodically to feed him, then drive back, or just have him with me at LTUE. Either way, I wasn’t able to give LTUE as much of my time as I did last year. But given the circumstances, I think I struck a good balance.

This post is turning out a lot different than I thought it would. Maybe later I’ll go into some different aspects. Overall, I’m happy I went. And having our inkPageant table in the vendors’ room provided great opportunities to learn some interesting things and get to know some interesting people.

Recalled To LIfe

Lest you thought this writing blog was turning into a pregnancy blog, I am here to assure you that that chapter (haha) is over.

Baby came! He’s sweet and cuddly and smiley and we’re all in love with him. So here we are, nearly three months after the fact, and I’m just getting my writing legs back.

Holidays are over, sicknesses are all better, vacation has come and gone, and our little Jack is consistently sleeping through the night.

*rubbing hands together*

Time to get to work!

I agreed to email a friend a new chapter each month. But I want to write at a faster pace than that. If I can finish two chapters per month, I’ll be sitting pretty to finish my goal of a first draft of a novel well before the end of the year. I may even have time for some revisions.

Realistically, there are other things going on in my life than writing, and those things may prove to be worthy roadblocks to my goal.

So far, I have one chapter done. One chapter in one month — but that was a month interrupted by sicknesses on top of sicknesses, and an unexpected trip to California in the middle. That, and our laptop (dear, departed laptop!) met an untimely death halfway through the month, which made it much harder to get my writing in.

I’m fairly confident that I could have finished two chapters in January if we’d had a normal month. On the other hand, crazy-and-unexpected is normal. Maybe I can’t count on finishing two chapters every month.

But that won’t stop me from trying.