The best friend who turns betrayer
The two girls fighting over one guy
The perfect wife and mother
The emotionless warrior woman
The executive business woman who throws it all away for love
The mysterious pixie girl
The abused mean girl
The prostitute with the heart of gold
The nerdy/smart/sassy computer girl who stays behind a desk
The girl with glasses who has a makeover to become beautiful
My challenge: I live on a twisty, hilly dirt road, and once winter sets in, it can be very difficult to run on, especially when we get a very snowy winter like the one we've had this year. The road narrows, it's icy, and it's really just not safe to walk on, much less run. In fact the last time I went for a walk I had a very graceless wipe-out.
But we've had a few warm days and the snow banks have receded and it looks like the ice is mostly gone. So today, it's time to get back out there. Last September, I was able to run 6 (very slow) miles. But I'm afraid after a few months of not running at all, I'm back to square one. This happened last year, too. It's a bummer.
But last week, in a moment of inspiration (and perhaps delusion), I downloaded the training schedule for the Couch to Half Marathon plan. I meant to do the Couch to 10K plan, but for "some reason" I clicked on the half marathon link instead. My goal is only to run 7 miles. But there's this little dreamer inside me that says, Maybe you could do more...
So it is 6:52 a.m. as I write this and the training schedule is staring at me with a photo of this very fit lady at the top running like the wind and even though I know I will never look like her, with my frumpy body and my slow shuffle, somehow I'm still inspired to try. Today is the day.
On a parallel line here, I have been in a bit of a writing slump. Specifically, with a book that was technically or maybe just theoretically due back in November. That was the date we chose for the contract but I have been silently hoping no one else will remember.
Because I still haven't managed to finish the very rough first draft.
Last year I took on a teaching position and I also began doing more speaking engagements and traveling to more conferences and I had revisions come in for another novel and... all this meant I kept getting interrupted. Every time I tried to get back into my work-in-progress I felt I'd slipped more and more behind.
Like my running, the days I could finally get out there I felt I'd lost so much I could barely make progress. It was getting more and more frustrating and stressful. Eventually it began to feel hopeless. Eventually I more or less stopped.
But that's not really an option, is it? To give up your goal, your dream, just because it seems too hard?
On Friday, I had finished my school visit duties for the week. I finished an essay I'd committed to. I was done with all my student packets. I had a full day to write. It was like looking at a flat, ice-free road on a perfect-weather day and just standing there thinking, This is probably going to hurt, but you've gotta start somewhere.
Sometimes, opening my file, or putting on my sneakers, is actually the hardest part of getting back to the task at hand. It's the final commitment to starting again. Starting from what feels like the bottom of a very steep hill. So I told myself:
Just write one sentence. It can be terrible.
So I wrote one terrible sentence.
And then I told myself:
Maybe you could do more.
So I tried.
And soon I'd written 500 words. And maybe not all of them were so terrible. I felt myself finally stepping back into the story.
Today, I will write 1,000 words.
I'm also going to find my running shoes, buried under piles of winter boots and mismatched winter clothes at the bottom of the closet. My instructions say to jog 30 seconds, then walk 60 seconds. Repeat until you've gone 2 miles. It doesn't sound so hard, when you break it up like that.
One sentence. 30 seconds. It's possible.
I know a lot of you struggle too, so I wanted to put this little phrase in your head this morning, just like it lodged itself in mine.
Maybe you could do more.
I'm pretty sure you can.
Monday Morning Warm-Up:
Write to the prompt: "Maybe I could do more..."
Thanks so much everyone for all the fabulous suggestions in response to my previous post. Lots of great ideas there. We really appreciate it.
Your suggestions clarified two things for us:
1) We realised that we want to stick to the twentieth century. So we’ve decided to only read books from after WW1 up to 1994 (ie twenty years ago.) After WW1 because that’s when women across classes1 were joining the workforce in larger numbers; because I’ve done a lot of research on the 1930s; and because there’s an argument that that is when you see the beginnings of what is now called women’s fiction.
2) As much as possible we’d like to do books that are available as ebooks because that makes it much easier for everyone to take part. We will, however, make exceptions for books we’re very keen to read. Such as Han Suyin’s A Many Splendoured Thing.
We’re also making a decision about historicals. On the one hand I think they say a tonne about contemporary women’s lives and feminism and like that. But on the other hand I really do think they’re their own genre. Plenty of historicals by women never get talked about as women’s fiction. Hilary Mantel, Dorothy Dunnett etc. So I’m leaning against. Especially as women’s fiction today basically means fiction about women’s working lives that don’t fit the romance category. Also we’ve already got too many books to choose from! But like I said we’re still thinking about it.
Looking forward to talking Valley of the Dolls with you this Wednesday night (US time) and Thursday afternoon (Australia time).
- Working class women have pretty much always been in the workforce.
He's got the big apparel Printable Coupons. Now he just needs to find a team.
According to a report from ESPN, former Heisman winner and likely first-round draft pick Johnny Manziel has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Nike. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is reportedly the largest contract signed of any member of the rookie class.
Manziel's team negotiating the deal included LeBron James' business manager, Maverick Carter, and Fenway Sports Group.
Adidas, Under Armour and New Balance's Warrior brand all submitted bids for Manziel's marketing rights.
The former Texas A&M quarterback had an impressive combine, especially in the 40, but it's not clear just where he'll fall in the draft yet. For now, at least, he's got some money.(Thanks to ESPN for sharing.)
So I just wrote a critique for someone in which I suggested doing more telling, and less showing. Or at least having a higher ratio of telling rather than showing. I do this every once in a while, and then I laugh, reminded that no advice is really universally good.
Here’s the thing. You’re writing a book, not filming a movie. Writing a book uses words. Filming a movie doesn’t need any words at all. You can show everything. You can’t do that with a book (unless it’s a graphic novel, I suppose, or a wordless picture book). In a book, you use words to do all the things that you use the actor’s face to do in a movie. And in addition to that, you get to do this cool extra thing where you can orchestrate the emotional reaction of your reader. With words.
If you are only giving a play-by-play of the action, you’re missing the real power of a book. A book gets you into the head of your pov character. You’re along for the ride in a way that a movie can’t really allow you to be. You get to know everything your pov knows. You feel everything your pov feels. You become your pov in a way a movie can’t quite manage. Now, movies can do other things that are amazing, but I don’t think they give you the same emotional connection.
Don’t just show me what is happening. Tell me what is happening in the head of the pov you’ve picked for me to ride along with. This is the pov that you’ve chosen for a reason, right? The one who is going to give the reader the most emotional ride? The one they’re never going to forget sharing an adventure with?
Make it hurt. Make it sing. Make it stay.
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat-
You must have walked-
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!
I got your letter, and the bird's;
The maples never knew
That you were coming,-I declare,
How red their faces grew!
But, March, forgive me-
And all those hills
You left for me to hue;
There was no purple suitable,
You took it all with you.
Who knocks? That April!
Lock the door!
I will not be pursued!
He stayed away a year, to call
When I am occupied.
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come,
That blame is just as dear as praise
And praise as mere as blame.
- Emily Dickinson
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- Current Mood: optimistic
- Current Music:Almost Human score music
There are two ways to deal with scars:
1. Hide them because you are embarrassed that you were ever weak enough or stupid enough to do something that scarred you.
2. Show them off because you are proud of yourself for surviving something terrible and getting stronger or wiser from it—or just having a good story to tell.
I’ve had lots of scars, as a writer, as a mother, as an athlete. I can show you the scars from the first time I took my lovely Cervelo out in the rain. My right elbow, my whole right hand, my right thigh. I can show you the scars from crashing into another racer on my left side. I can show you the scars from pregnancy, those thing white lines all over my stomach.
I can “show” you the scars from the first contract a publisher ever canceled with me. I can tell the story about that time I got fired from the job I had spent six years getting a PhD to get. I have scars from things reviewers have said about my books, from amazon 1-star reviews that I was stupid enough to read, and from cruel things I’ve heard from other authors.
Some of the scars don’t hurt at all anymore. Some of them twinge at me. Some are still a little raw, frankly, and I’m tempted to put gauze, ointment, and bandages on them when I go outside. But it helps to remember that everyone has scars, inside and out. Sometimes we get back on that bike again, and sometimes we decide that isn’t a good idea and we ride indoors from now on. It’s OK. They’re your scars. You choose the story you tell about them from now on.