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Monday, December 05, 2005

I've been tagged!

And another one right on the heels of the previous one. This one is a bit of "fun" as passed on from a fellow blogger and writing friend. I blame
Jenny Cary for this one, but at least it won't distract me for long. And her lists were so good, I "borrowed" from them to create mine.

It seems there's a wind floating through several blogs these days, challenging us to develop our own 7 sevens. I might consider tagging others. We'll see how this goes for me.

Seven Things I Want to Do Before I Die
1. Marry the man God has for me and work together to build a strong, God-centered marriage.
2. Become a mother.
3. Write all the books God has placed in my head, and get them published.
4. Visit Europe, but England, Scotland and Ireland hold stronger draw.
5. Document my family history and chronology and write it down for future generations.
6. Write a Christmas play and see it published/performed.
7. Inspire at least one other person to pursue their dreams, despite whatever roadblocks they face.

Seven Favorite Childhood Memories
1. Helping our dog, Diamond, give birth to 8 puppies in our garage.
2. Getting stuck on the roof of the back porch when my older brother promised he'd come back to get me.
3. Being given a backstage tour of Disney World during my first visit when Dad & Mom had their money stolen because they left older brother and me to sit on a bench while they road Thunder Mountain, and we left the bags on the bench to get a closer look at the ride.
4. Opening the front door and seeing only a wall of snow.
5. Watching Diamond's puppy, Champ, create tunnels through the snow and jump through the top of the snow occasionally to let us know where he was.
6. Seeing our above-ground pool turned into a rather large sandbox when the frame could no longer hold water.
7. Visiting PipSqueak's farm (family friends) in West Virginia and realizing the outhouse was constructed over the edge of a cliff, as well as learning what it's like to live without running water, electricity and miles from the nearest town or neighbor.

Seven Favorite Places I've visited
1. Los Angeles (Paramount Ranch and WB Studios--where favorite TV shows and movies have been filmed--and of course dinner at actress Jane Seymour's home!)
2. Washington, D.C. & Philadelphia (US history tours)
3. Harrisonburg, VA (timeshare in the Blue Ridge Mountains)
4. New York City (Broadway, Time Square, Central Park, Battery Park, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, Coney Island, etc.)
5. Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico (with Mexican exchange student/sister)
6. Denver & Colorado Springs (driving across the Continental Divide and sightseeing through the Rockies)
7. Caracas, Venezuela (summer mission trips as a teenager)

Seven Books I'd Read Again and Again
1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
2. It Had to Be You by Linda Windsor
3. Conviction of Charlotte Grey by Jeanne Cheyney
4. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
5. The Secret Garden
6. Speak Softly, Love by Kathleen Yapp
7. Tiffany by Joyce Ellis

Seven Movies I'd Watch Over and Over
1. Somewhere in Time
2. Sound of Music
3. Never Been Kissed
4. Newsies
5. Mary Poppins
6. Grease
7. The Princess Bride

Seven Things I Say Most Often
1. And your point is...
2. Deal with it!
3. Get over it!
4. Look! There's a castle!
5. You're not kidding!
6. I give my opinions free of charge.
7. That information is classified and on a need to know basis, and you don't need to know.

Seven Others I Hope Will Participate
1. Shannon McNear
2. Robin Miller
3. Dineen Miller
4. Meredith Efken
5. Stuart Stockton
6. Malia Spencer
7. Sandra Moore

And there you have it. If you don't have a blog of your own, feel free to reply here and post your list.

Confessions from an Unworthy Blogger

It's only my third post to this blog, and I've already missed my goal of once a week. I wish I could say life got in the way and I was preoccupied with other things. While that is partially true, the primary reason I didn't get here to post anything is because I've allowed my "funk" to take control, rather than surrendering to God and letting Him take the reins to help pull me out of the mire.

A few weeks ago, I shared about my struggle with writing and the disappointing message I'd received which sort of made me sit back and take stock in my writing. It's never easy to receive constructive criticism, and I have almost always been able to receive it in a graceful and grateful manner. But, when it's a direct hit on your writing, something very personal to you, it's not as easy. After some time spent in prayer, I realized where the problem really lay...I'm trying too hard.

This seems to be a recurring issue with me, and it is usually tied into a desire to please others first before pleasing God. I'm not saying I don't consider God and His plan or His will first; rather, I try to please others *while* I'm doing what I feel God has called me to do. Instead of following God's lead and doing or saying what He knows is best, I take it one step further and try to do what I believe others want to see or hear. The problem with that is it's draining on me and makes me spend too much time being concerned about the product. As a result, I get less accomplished and wind up stuck in the mire because I feel I've failed someone somehow.

Don't get me wrong. It's important to do your best for others, as you're reflecting God as well. However, when doing that causes you to shortchange yourself, it's time to rethink the focus.

So, I'm making it my goal between now and the end of the year to get my focus fine-tuned and my priorities in order. There are stories I feel firmly God wants me to tell, and I can't afford to let the devil stop me from telling them. There's other ways where the talents God's given me need to be used to serve others, and I need to use them. I pray for the strength from God to make all this happen.

And for anyone who's reading this blog, thanks for your support. If you're so led, help keep me in line. Accountability is important, and I don't have anyone locally here to do that.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

2x4's really hurt

Well, the 2x4 has been swung and connected with its target more than once in the past week. I almost started to sink into the same slump I experienced right after I returned from the ACFW National Conference in Nashville this past September. Of course, I also came home and lost my full-time job a week after the conference, so that had a lot to do with my lack of motivation in writing.

But, thanks to a dear friend, I got a swift kick in the pants and got rolling again on this book. Then, I went on vacation and fine-tuned the edits from my mentor-friend and published author, Linda, as well as progressed up to chapter 12 on the book. Pretty sure I only had 4 more chapters to go upon returning, but I didn't get very far last week. (sigh)

Too many other things kept distracting me. It's probably because I didn't have a bonafide accountability partner keeping me straight, or it's because I didn't have a daily goal set for myself or by anyone else. But, God really smacked me hard when I realized my mentor is teetering once more on a new contract with a publisher for her latest series. Once she gets it, her time won't be as available. And if I don't utilize the gift she's given me of her time while she's had it, God will take it away.

So, I've made another commitment to get finished, only I've broken it into more manageable pieces. I intend to write at least 1 chapter every day until Friday, then I'll read over the new chapters and get everything to Linda for her edits. Hopefully, she can return them to me within a week, so I can get the edits done and email this manuscript to the editor who's requested it. All before Thanksgiving.

Once I get this book done, I'll format my 2 proposals for the agent who requested my work and get those to him. And I'll put the finishing touches on the proposal for the other editor with the anthology I'm writing with 3 other authors and get that submitted. I'm so close and sitting right on the edge. Just need to get that burst of motivation and determination to finish.

Feel free to give me a kick in the pants or a smack on the back of the head or real solid shake. Even wringing my neck might work, but chocolate's a better motivation. For those who know me on IM, you have free license to bug me and harass to make sure I'm doing what I promised I'd do.

But now? It's time to hit the hay. Maybe the complete rest of my book will come to me in a dream and I'll just have to come back to my computer and pour out the dream onto the screen. Hey! It could happen! :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Journey into the Unknown

Well, here goes. I'm venturing into the world of blogging, even though I told myself I wouldn't do it. But, after receiving critiques from my mentor on my writing, I realized I don't delve deep enough into the thought processes of my characters. I'm high on the action and descriptions, but not the internal thoughts. A part of me realizes that's because I don't take the time to journal and tap into those thoughts.

So, thanks to the encouragement of other writing friends and the reported enjoyment as well as fulfillment they receive from their blogs, I'm going to give this a go. Who knows where it could lead?

Don't know how often I'll remember to add posts or share thoughts, but one major reason I began is for accountability as well as connecting to others. I'm working on pushing toward the finish line with my 3rd book and want to get it done by Friday. My friend, Dineen, is also working toward writing "the end" so we're going to keep each other in line. I welcome anyone else who wishes to offer some pant-kicking. :)

And on that note, I'm off to do some writing. Will try to be back later this evening with a word-count report.