Balance?

It’s an old story. Everyone is looking for that work-life balance that makes them happy at home and happy at work.

Writers with day jobs try and add a third thing into this mess. Have you ever been on a three person see-saw? Me either.

Lately, I haven’t felt able to balance work, life and writing.

I get home late at night from work, try to eat something resembling a nutritious meal, do dishes, write and get to bed so I can get up and go to the gym before work.

I end up feeling bad at my job, bad at writing and terrible at life. And tired.

I suppose I either need to suck it up or cut something out, but right now I just can’t choose.

/whine

Post-conference

So, ummm, how is it already the middle of August?? I honestly have no idea how we got here. To say that my day job has been busier than usual would be a major understatement.

I haven’t even had the time or brain power to tell you all about the conference I attended!

The Northwestern campus was so beautiful. There were packs of children roaming the grounds taking tours. Based on how old they look I would have to guess NU has recently admitted a large amount of Dougie Howser types because they were seriously young. I refuse to believe they were college-aged.

Anyway, the actual conference was good. I went in thinking I would take pages and pages of notes and learn tons and tons. In reality, I learned somethings. I was sort of at the more in the know end if people there who knew about publishing, but definitely not the smartest.

I have no way to gauge, this being my first, but it seemed like a pretty small conference which was just fine with me, but I am looking forward to the next one!

My First Conference!

And hopefully not my last.

You guys, I am so freaking excited. I signed up for my first writers’ conference! It’s the Northwestern Summer Writing Conference. I’m only going to one day because I can only take so much time off from work. Also, these things are spendy!

But, I am really looking forward to it enormously. It includes a morning talk and two work sessions. Also,  I’m opted to have a personal critique.

Now, I just have to find something writerly to wear. . .

Get back to it.

Probably, you thought I disappeared into the ether somewhere (actually, more likely, you hardly noticed).
A lot has been going on with my writing lately, so I’ll post a couple of things about it over the next couple of days or maybe weeks.
Yesterday, I finished reading Second Sight by Cheryl Klein.
I’ve read a couple of books about the craft of, but none of them as specific as Second Sight.
I flagged about a million pages and now I’m going to go back and look at my WIP and use some of the exercises she describes.
But, I will say I would not recommend this book to someone who has not yet completed a first full draft. I don’t even know if I would recommend it to someone who hasn’t attempted some revisions. It really is big on the details, which is great! However, if I had read this after completing my first draft I would have been totally defeated. I would have looked at my WIP and said, “You piece of crap. You’re not even worthy of the exercises in this book.” And then I would have thrown it on the ground and spit on it.
Which would be so sad! Dear, WIP, I would never do that to him now.
So, I am glad that I’ve read this book now and not earlier. Now I am much more equipped to handle the level of advice offered within.

How sad

I haven’t written here in over a year!

I haven’t stopped writing all together. My WIP is still my WIP. (You might be questioning my dedication to it, but these things take time!)

Anyway, I’ve been writing on my tumblr a lot more. If you head over to katherinemarie.tumblr.com, you’ll see posts tagged “writing” and they’ll be all about the stuff I used to write here.

Not sure if I’ll come back here, but maybe I’ll start.
We’ll see!

More Reading

So I’ve been seeing these books in the YA section for a while; The Uglies, The Pretties, and a 3rd one whose name I am not going to look up at this time. I was intrigued. So I borrowed the first one from a friend.

I’m about 150 pgs into the Uglies. It’s a post-apocalyptic (a topic I love) world where everyone is natural and “ugly” until they turn 16 when they undergo a magical operation and are made pretty and allowed to live in bacchanalian pleasure for years until they are given jobs.

Honestly, this should be right up my alley. But I just . . . no, and I’ll tell you why in one word.

Purchase (as defined by MW, of course)

Main Entry: 2purchase
Function: noun
Date: 14th century

1 : an act or instance of purchasing
2 : something obtained especially for a price in money or its equivalent
3 a (1) : a mechanical hold or advantage applied to the raising or moving of heavy bodies (2) : an apparatus or device by which advantage is gained b (1) : an advantage (as a firm hold or position) used in applying one’s power <clutching the steering wheel for more purchase — Barry Crump> (2) : a means of exerting power

The book uses the word “purchase” as defined by the section in blue THREE times in one chapter. Now, if there was no other way to get this meaning across, I would understand. But it’s such a strange usage and I just hate it. That may seem rash, but it’s the truth. Yuck usage, man, yuck.

Besides that the story is great, the characters are pretty m’eh and the world which could be SO cool is not that well defined.

In other news, I am enjoying the pending holiday. I have decorated my apartment and bought 3/4 of my Christmas gifts. WOO!

Breaking the Rules

I know this blog is 90% about me and my writing, but I’m switching things up a bit today. Instead we’re going to talk about someone else’s writing.

I am currently reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Normally I’m too cheap to buy hard cover books but I’ve been in a book draught and so when I saw this on sale at Target, I decided to go with it. I’ve heard such great things!

It’s  a great book so far; told from the perspective of 3 women–2 black, 1 white–in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963. I was reading it today and just about fell in love with this paragraph:

We step out onto the black top, feel the heat cover us. I got the paper sac in one hand, Mae Mobley’s hand in the other and we trudge across the steaming black lot. Gridlines make it like we on a charcoal grill, roasting like corncobs. My face getting tight, burning in the sun. Baby Girl lagging bach on my hand looking stunned like she just got slapped. Miss Leefolt panting and frowning at the door, still twenty yards away, wondering, I reckon, why she park so far. The part in my hair get to burning, then itching, but I can’t scratch at it cause both hands is full then whoo! somebody blow out the flame. The lobby’s dark, cool, heaven. We blink awhile.

There are so many fun and interesting things to say about this paragraph. It’s like a whole story in just a few lines. I could spend an hour talking about it; however, I came into work early today to get work done and that’s what I need to go do now.