What’s Up Wednesday: It’s 2014, Baby!

Hello hello my friends! Long time, no blog, eh? Let’s see, the last time I posted, what was I up to … *checks* I was saying goodbye to October and getting ready for NaNoRevMo … which didn’t happen. I will be honest, the fall was rough for me. It always is–it’s the hardest part of the year for me, when I get an annual, prolonged stay from the depression fairy. And last fall was a particularly dark one. But something changed on January First and I’m feeling tons better. Oh wait … I forgot about What’s Up Wednesday!

What’s Up Wednesday is a super easy, totes fun meme and you should join us!

winter wuwWHAT I’M READING

I know, I know, I’m really behind on this one, but I’m (finally) reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and it is as wonderful as everyone says. Going through it pretty slowly, but part of that is on purpose because I’m just savoring it. The writing! Oh, it makes me melt. So exquisite. Zusak has perfectly captured the voice of Death, one to whom time is completely relative and sometimes unimportant, and one who is fascinated by humans. Love it.

WHAT I’M WRITING

So … I’m finally getting into my revisions on FRACTURED RADIANCE. Here’s the story: I started November with all kinds of hopes, but waffled on how to get into my revisions. First I was going to read the book, then I was going to jump into edits, then finally around the second week of November, I decided I should actually read through it first. So I did. And promptly became very depressed. What a hot mess it is! I made a list of all the major changes to be done. Spoiler alert: it’s a long list. I hmphed and pschawed and dragged my feet all the day long. And then, when our Thanksgiving trip to St. Louis arrived, I thought, “I’ll read in the car!” But let me tell you, 12 hours overnight in a car with a one year old is not the ideal place to write … especially when that one year old doesn’t sleep well in the car for more than 3 hours at a time. While in St. Louis (visiting my brother and his family), I discussed my book with my brother and his wife. And my sister-in-law said, “I’ll read it!” So I gave her my copy and returned to Denver happy to have an unexpected beta reader, but also happy to have an excuse not to work on my book. (I’m so terrible.) See, my SIL is a talented writer herself, and she was a writing tutor in college, so I knew she’d give me all kinds of valuable feedback and I didn’t want to start revising stuff when I’d have to go back through it again and maybe change things I’d just changed. Plus Christmas was coming up, which involved a 9-day trip to visit the Mister’s family, and yadda yadda, you get the picture.

WELL! My SIL has finished the book, though she hasn’t had a chance to mail it back yet (arctic vortex and all that), but we’ve had a couple of really good chats about the major problems in my book. But see! The exciting thing is I asked her to be brutally honest and tell me if I should trash this book or if it was worth continuing. And she thinks it is! So that in itself gives me hope. Then I had a, Where do I start?? moment yesterday, but then today I outlined a plan of attack, and BAM. I’m motivated. Now, my writing today was just a bit rusty (just a smidge … which is to say, actually really very rusty), but that’s okay. I just got to get my mind grapes going.

ALSO. This fall was hard because Turbo has taken over my life and I was just surviving day-to-day, unsure how to fit in anything for myself. I thought of the solution on New Year’s Day, and my goodness it’s so simple I’m amazed I didn’t think of it before! I mean, seriously y’all, it’s pretty sad it took me until he was 14 months old to realize this: nap time = writing time. DUH. So here was my dilemma: due to health concerns, I cannot be on the computer or exercise past 8ish or else I can’t sleep. Not, it’s hard to fall asleep, or I sleep fitfully. I. CANNOT. SLEEP. Insomnia pays me a not-so-kind visit. And Turbo is a ton of fun and super cute, but when I’m on the computer he wants to be held to see what’s on the screen. He loves playing by himself … until I’m on the computer. Then he’s screaming at my leg, demanding to be picked up, and y’all … it’s not fun. I’m sure I could break that cycle, but it would be so painful … Anyhow. Until Monday, I would usually spend nap time showering and doing chores that I can’t do while he’s awake, like anything involving the dishwasher being open. Then at night I’d read or watch TV with the Mister.

Enter my grand idea! See, I can easily clean at night without fear of insomnia kicking in. (It has to do with the harsh lighting of the computer screen. It’s a thing, I promise.) So now, when Turbo’s awake I spend time with him, accomplish that which can be accomplished with him running around (sorting laundry is one of those things), and leave the house, then when he goes to bed I exercise (before 8!), then do chores, read, and/or spend time with the Mister. And nap time! Oh, nap time is all about writing. And it’s glorious.

Okay, that was a super long section … next!

WHAT ELSE I’M UP TO

Being excited about the new year. :) I feel very optimistic about this year. I don’t know if I’ll get FR to query-quality in the next 12 months (it’s got a loooong way to go), but I have a plan on how to get it there, 1-2 hours a day to spend on it, and if I want to be published, I have to make it happen. This is an empowering feeling. (Okay, sometimes also exhausting, but mostly empowering.)

WHAT INSPIRES ME

My goals for the year! Yay! Here they are:

-Live with purpose — no more dallying on Facebook for hours because I’ve got nothing better to do. Be purposeful about how I spend every minute of every day. Get up at 6 every morning and spend a few quiet minutes alone before the kiddo joins me with all his chatterbox fun.

-Put God first — I know, I’m getting religious on you here for a second, but this is something I really need to do. Put Him first, and all things will fall into place. I’ve already seen it in action.

-Devote nap time strictly to writing — I’ve already touched on this (err, rambled on and on).

-Exercise daily — this is absolutely crucial to my health, physical but especially mental. Even if it’s just a walk with Turbo and the dogs, or a handful of crunches. It’s gotta be done.

-Comment on blogs whenever I post — I’m not going to make any goals about weekly posting or anything, but I definitely need to be better about visiting y’all’s blogs and commenting on them. So you’ll see comments from me tonight!

-One big project or multiple little projects a month–no more, no less — I’m going to be strict about this, even the “no less” part because I have a ton of projects that are half done and have been for over a year. Like the fact that all of my kitchen windows have a valance except one … and it’s been that way since I was pregnant. And it’s due to sheer laziness.

-Coupon — I got into this late last summer and, without a ton of effort, saved 40% on my grocery bill. This year will be expensive, so we’ve gotta tighten the belt some.

-Post-Turbo evenings dedicated to exercising, reading, cleaning, house projects (when possible–can’t really bust out the table saw at nine PM), and spending time with the Mister.

-Spend less time on phone/computer — this goes hand-in-hand with living more purposefully.

Even though it’s thrown my personal time for a loop, being a mother has been the best thing for my writing. I’ve had to really look at life, choose the things that are the most important to me, and become more organized so I can give them the time they deserve/I want. Even though I spent the majority of last year treading water, I still knew what I wanted to save my energy for, and what fat needed to be shed.

Here’s to 2014!

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19 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday: It’s 2014, Baby!

  1. Bridgid Gallagher (@bridgidlee) says:

    Yay! What a great post!

    I’m so sorry to hear that you had a rough Fall. Ick. No fun. But MAJOR kudos for sharing your ms with your SIL! And it sounds like it’s helped get you re-motivated, so YAY. :)

    And that’s great that you’ve figured out when you can fit in writing (without losing your sleep). Wooot!

    Sounds like you have a PLAN for 2014. Best of luck, I’ll be cheering you on! :)

  2. Miss Cole says:

    Happy New Year :D

    Sounds like you’ve got a great plan. Hope it all falls into place ^_^ Ooooh, how I miss naptime. The little one I look after doesn’t sleep anymore, but when she did I used to get so much done!

    • Kris Atkins says:

      I know a lot of my friends with kids in the post-nap, pre-school age range make their kids have quiet time in the afternoons so they can still have some grown up time. Of course, it might not work the same if you’re getting paid to watch the kid … but it’s good for the kid, right? :D

  3. Colin says:

    Parenting does mess your priorities around–but in the best way. It gives you a perspective on life like nothing else. I’m so glad you’ve hit upon a way to organize your life that makes room for writing. And what a gift to have a SIL that can give you great feedback on your novel. I’m hoping for that kind of honest criticism when I eventually send my WIP out to beta readers.

    I hope this year lives up to its potential for you, Kris! :)

  4. Kitty says:

    Hi Kris! Great post and I especially like your goals for the year… I may steal a few of them. I need to make a point of living more purposefully, too. Yesterday, I unplugged the TV in our bedroom as a small first step. Why do we even HAVE a TV in our bedroom?! Happy New Year to you!

  5. Carrie-Anne says:

    I’m one of the people who hated The Book Thief and found it extremely overrated. It was a DNF for me, though I knew the ending anyway from how many times the narrator gave it away. I can’t think of any books surrounded by massive hype I’ve actually ended up going along with the crowd on.

    Good luck with all of your goals for the year. I could never set so many specific goals for myself, just general ones like work on a paper every night so it’s ready by the due date, or spend a few hours studying for the GRE math section.

    • Kris Atkins says:

      You’re definitely the first person who’s told me they didn’t love The Book Thief. But that’s why people are great, because we all have our own opinions. I avoided it for a while because it is so hyped, but finally decided there had to be some truth to it. And, in my opinion, there is. :) Thanks for visiting!

  6. Erin L. Funk says:

    Okay, there’s just so much I relate to in this post. The depression fairy paid me a nasty visit this fall too–thus my extended break from blogging. That time of year is so tough with winter weather arriving and the days feeling shorter. Blah. It’s not fun even thinking about it. I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling encouraged about the new year though! I am too. I relate on the insomnia issue as well, although seeing as I’m most creative at night (plus the house is quiet) I’ve embraced that as my writing time. I hope writing during nap time works well for you!

    I’m reading THE BOOK THIEF to my son right now. I’ve read it before, but couldn’t wait to share it with him, especially since he’s learning about WWII. Isn’t the prose amazing? Writers like Markus Zusak set the bar so high!

    Best of luck with your revisions and all your goals for 2014! :)

    • Kris Atkins says:

      “Writers like Markus Zusak set the bar so high!”
      YES. He’s seriously blowing my mind with how well he’s nailing Death, especially with his view of time and how he doesn’t always think chronologically. Brilliant. And his prose … goodnessgraciousme, it makes me drool.
      Good luck to you too! I’m glad you kicked the depression fairy to the curb too! She’s a nasty one.

    • Kris Atkins says:

      Yeah, sadly, insomnia is nothing new for me, but the difference between the adult Kris and the younger Kris is now I try to keep it away as best I can, instead of playing Minesweeper until 6 in the morning like I did in college. :D
      Thanks for visiting!

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