Dating When You’re Married

Valentine’s Day  launched me into a week long vacation. Not so much for my little darlings—the subtle differences in working for one school district and having our children attend another. Once I got over the sheer horror of being at home without the girls (they’re only five and eight … practically babies … and I’m an over-protective mama … so yeah), I started taking advantage of all this free intelligence-based babysitting courtesy of the state of California.

I have gone on more dates this week with my husband than in the last few years. (For the record, we’ve been married for nine.)

With the children safely tucked away in school, we’ve been restaurant hopping each day this week. I’ve been wined and dined so much I’ve added a two-plus-mile-a-day walk to my not-so-busy schedule just to combat the extra calorie dump.

I’m not even embarrassed to say we took advantage of our free one-week trial of Hulu just to watch The Goldbergs show from the very beginning. We were late bloomers in discovering this awesome 80’s laugh-out-loud sitcom, so it’s been totally bitchin’ to get caught up on it. TV binging has been kinda fun. 🙂

In the midst of spoiling myself silly, I even wrapped up an extensive edit on my manuscript, fine-tuning a couple of elements. Then, I did something either completely bonkers… or just plain smart. (Time will tell.) I resubmitted the updated version to the agents who have my full MS and haven’t responded yet.

Nudging is nerve-racking, to say the least—right up there with querying. But this business takes time. And, if these agents want to squat on my manuscript for months on end, so be it. Like I said, time will tell.

As the weekend fast approaches, I’m getting a little restless. Diving back into work is like jumping head first into the Bering Sea. We all need to warm up to the daily grind, but I did leave us on a cliff-hanger with the novel I’m teaching (not on purpose, in case you just shrieked right now), and I’m hoping Monday will be kind … to all of us.

Until then, there’s one more day left before we head into a weekend of family fun. My husband is picking tomorrow’s dining experience … and he said something about catching a movie, too. Fun. So much fun!

Oh, and the cliffhanger … Ponyboy is about to become a hero. (I know, I know, but I might have Monday inadvertently in the bag.)

Happy Valentine’s Day

FullSizeRender

I had insomnia the night before last and was curled up on my side, eyes shut, trying to force myself to go back to sleep when my husband stirred awake. He draped his hand on my hip and breathed, “Aww, you’re so beautiful when you’re sleeping.” To which, I replied, “Thank you,” nearly giving him a heart attack. He didn’t know I was awake. Compliments me in my ‘sleep’ people. I love this man! Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

What I Got out of my First #NaNoWriMo Experience

What I Got Out of my First #NaNoWriMo Experience

I started prepping for my first National Novel Writing Month in mid-October by gathering research and summarizing my chapters and scenes. A little here, a little there, until I had a 38-page word doc outline to run with come November 1st.

I wanted to participate by the rules 100%:

  • Writing Everyday
    IMG_7825
  • Logging in and recording my progress
  • Earning my badges for participation as I go
  • Tweeting regularly on the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on Twitter @brookeewayne
  • And keeping to the Nov 1st as word-one rule

In the end, it took me twenty-three days to write a 53,838-word novel, sticking to my outline about 95% of the time.

I found it difficult to get started even though I had everything in place. The words just wouldn’t flow at times as easily as I had hoped despite all the prepping I had done to keep that from happening.

LESSON LEARNED: That setback reinforced my belief that no matter what, no matter when, if the inspiration strikes and the words begin to flow, WRITE THEM DOWN! Don’t let the moment pass believing it will return when the ‘time is right’. It won’t.

The pressure of meeting a deadline of 50,000 words in 30 days wore on my nerves harder than I thought it would at first. As soon as I passed the 50K threshold, I could literally feel my shoulders relax when I was typing. Weird.

LESSON LEARNED: When I’m faced with publishing deadlines someday, I need to brace myself for the inevitable psyching-out that will occur. Cue husbandry duties of nightly back massages…happy wife-happy life.

When I rounded the halfway point, I found my stride.

LESSON LEARNED: Keep moving forward, fighting, clawing, and forcing the words out like you’re digging out of your own grave because you will break through.

I also fought the urge to go back and edit, delete, revamp, and mess with the story every step of the way. I even forced myself to wait until the end to run spell check. Yeah, that took a good twenty minutes of my life away.

LESSON LEARNED: I need to go back. I just do. I have to fuss with the way things are written a little before moving on. Not major editing, just, you know, getting that voice down that drives the story. Every word should matter, right? Not doing that along the way made moments of writing forward feel like I was walking on broken glass.

In the end, a story that had begun as an Adult Rom-Com spoof on an 80s throwback story pieced together from actual events in my HS days emerged as a viable YA novel that I am definitely going to polish after it marinades for a couple of months. And I will pitch it alongside the Adult MS I have out now still surviving in the trenches of querying-round-one.

Between now and the revision period, I’m continuing the practice of writing everyday–specifically, I am going to write a sequel to my queried MS. My “break” from writing yesterday that I allotted myself still yielded three sentences to that story already underway just to keep to my promise.

I am proud that I pushed myself to write a second full MS and even more proud that I wrote it through NaNoWriMo, challenging myself when life was ridiculously cluttered with progress reports, parent-teacher conferences, a sinus infection piggybacking the cough & cold flu, while others in my family were tossing their cookies with the stomach flu, and even adding an afterschool club I had decided to run two days a week.

Of all the lessons learned, I discovered I could handle a lot in a short amount of time without going completely crazy.