Aiming For Real

Welp, RWA Nationals are over for another year, and July is almost in the rear view mirror. The best thing about not going to a writer’s conference is the lack of conference hangover when it’s over. Summer has never been my favorite season, and August counts more as pre-fall than actual summer. Back to school supplies are everywhere, and tomorrow means I get to start on a whole new month in my planner. No, this is not going to be another post where I blabber incessantly about planners. I am considering a separate notebook blog, but that has to get in line behind fiction writing, which is the next thing on my schedule after getting this blog written, so we’re going to traipse off in that direction, with only the vaguest of ideas on a theme for this entry.

Not going to a conference means there is nothing to unpack. I will allow that I did laundry this morning, but that brought with it a chance to finish reading one book on my Kindle and start in on another. I am not going to claim full awakeness at that phase of the morning, or even this one, but I know what’s on my list, and checking off the items on it gives me a sense of satisfaction, so here we go All I have to do is babble my way to the magic seven hundred and then I get to go play with my imaginary friends. I should probably also have some sort of lunch, because bodies (and brains) need nutrition, and it dovetails nicely with Skye’s lunch (she is not eating doves, either whole or tails-only; she is eating her regular fish jelly. She wanted me to make that clear.)

This weekend, our family did a fair dab of decluttering and donating. All that physical clutter comes with mental/emotional clutter, and, when it’s gone, we get some much needed breathing room. I moved a hanging file from the dining room, into my office, and, while I’m still sorting out exactly how I’m going to use it, knowing it’s there gives me a boost. One of these days, I am going to have to sit down with Netflix and a big pile of notes and handouts from conferences gone before and organize them by topic and date, but that day is not today.

Today is giving a final once-over to the first twenty five pages of the second draft of Chasing Prince Charming, and then getting the next segment of Her Last First Kiss‘s second draft ready for critique session with N in the morning. This time, I’m going in with detailed, hand written notes, and bullet points, written in present tense and what I am going to call a rather casual vernacular, and throwing them all on the page. I’m not even thinking, at this point, of making it pretty. If there’s time for that before I can get to bed at a decent hour, then that’s gravy. Not aiming at perfect here; aiming for real.

Real, in this case, means shutting out everything outside of the world of the story, so that it becomes the real world, so that I feel the tremble in Hero’s hand the second before he touches Ruby’s hair for the very first time. It means combing the Internet until I find out what the phase of the moon would have been that particular night, so I know exactly how much of her Hero Ruby could actually see.  (http://www.moonpage.com/ is insanely useful for this sort of thing) It means forgetting about the overhead fan and the construction crew outside my window, and slipping back into an earlier age and the moment when two broken people suspect that their broken edges might actually fit together into a brand new whole. That’s the good stuff.

I might not have a suitcase full of swag, or enough new books that I had to mail them home, but I do have a library haul and a fully stocked Kindle, so that’s almost as good, and no extra expense of dry cleaning special occasion clothing. That’s always a plus. What I do have from the conference I didn’t attend, thanks to all those who shared their experiences on social media, is a renewed sense of purpose. The mere fact that there is a gathering of those who love to do the same thing I love to do, write romance fiction and get it in the hands of readers, makes me want to get that butt in chair and fingers on keyboard and keep on going. It conjures the voice of my high school gym teacher, Ms. Napier :waves to any Suffield High alums who may be reading this: encouraging a class full of girls who would pretty much rather be doing anything but the cross-country run she had us on that day, that we couldn’t quit if we saw the finish line.

With today’s work on Her Last First Kiss, I will be over the halfway point on draft two. That means the finish line will officially be closer than the starting point, and Ruby and her Hero will be closer to Happily Ever After than they are to Once Upon a Time. There will be some achy writing muscles, that’s for sure, but what’s stronger than the ache is the gift of a second wind. Onward.

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