Archive for January 2009
Monday I checked my email to find my book cover. I opened it, not sure what I’d see. Like a mother with a new born, slowly checking for all fingers toes to make sure the “baby” is perfect. After all, my directions said open and review to make sure the cover reflected the book.
I loved it. It was beautiful. I couldn’t help myself. I keep gazing at it with awe. My first book cover. It had all its toes, fingers and important parts—so to speak. I think I may have parted with a few tears. J
I called out to my hubby in the next room. “Come look.” Holding my hand, he sat with me and gazed at the monitor displaying my book cover. “Perfect,” he agreed after a while and bussed my cheek.
Eventually, I tore myself from the rapt attention to my cover and emailed my enthusiastic approval. Then I emailed my oldest son with the cover. “I’m so proud of you!” he emailed right back. Now, really, how often does a mother hear that? And in writing???
All week long I’d gaze at my cover with such excitement—it will always be my first cover.
Friday, I opened my email to find another milestone–the galley proof of the book for final approval. Another major step in the road to seeing my book released. Two major events within days. I couldn’t stop feeling pleased. J
Which brings me to another point. A few years ago I was moderating an online class for a writing organization I belong to. The instructor posted her lecture and introduction really early the first day. “I couldn’t sleep all night. Today is the day my first book is released!” Her excitement bubbled off the email page. I was very happy for her, but couldn’t truly understand her feelings.
Now I do.
We have become good friends and she’s recently seen her eighth book, Gay Paree, published. I still get her excited emails when she gets her cover, on her release date, and all the special days in between. She writes now in a very different genre than I do but I finished her most recent book this week. I love how she develops her characters. I know I couldn’t write what she does. But we share our love of writing and our excitement in the steps of birthing a book. She still bubbles with each book cover arrives and with each release date. Ah, a release date—the next huge event to happen. I can’t wait.
The temps outside have been frightful. The wind chill far from delightful. Snow falls when the temps rise. One day the lake is jellied. The next day the ducks, geese and gulls are walking on the lake’s solid surface.
For several years Wisconsin enjoyed very mild winters.
We got spoiled. Heated garages, engine block heaters, snowblowers, ice-melt, shovels? Are you kidding? We didn’t need them with those mild winters?
This year we all do.
So I’ve been home pretty much all the time these past few weeks, going out only when absolutely necessary. Before I venture out, I’ve dug out my warmest outwear, mittens, and hats. Even BOOTS!
I haven’t thought of cabin fever as I’ve made great use of my time. But a few friends have mentioned it. They conjectured they might be suffering from it. They’re wishing this winter would end, but it’s barely beyond mid January. For many of us that means we have a good two months of winter to look forward to…or not. L
I’m glad I have projects—lots of them to keep me happy and inside. I’m blessed to have the freedom to use this time to work on my latest writing project, update my website, work with my photos, post to my blog, keep checking in on other friends’ blogs, and read. More on that subject in next week’s post.
I don’t suffer from cabin fever. Thank goodness. I’d call my state “cabin contentment.” Happy—doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, in the place I want to be. An added bonus? I even have a good supply of my favorite cookies. White Chocolate Toffee Macadamia Nut. Yum. Yum.
On second thought, maybe I don’t want the frigid winter to end…especially with a plate of those cookies near at hand. J
Today is my birthday. I’m not so old I proclaim my age, but I’m not young enough to shout it out either. Let’s agree that I’m well-seasoned and mellow.
Any way, birthdays at this age are worth celebrating for several reasons: I’ve made it through another year, I’m reasonably healthy and mobile, I have my dear hubby, family and friends about me, I love having writing time when I want it.
But being seasoned and mellowed has taught me if I want to stay that way I’ve got to “go with the flow” a bit, or not fight the impossible fights. Not that I don’t have disagreements, but I choose when to stand and when to walk away.
I’ve thought about life and living quite a bit this week—because this day was looming. Maybe I was a bit more pensive than usual as I consider that past year and the year to come and what changes might happen.
Then I’d glance out at the lake which changes constantly. It can go from placid beauty to vicious fury within minutes. It is every-changing yet ageless.
Each day I snapped a photo of the moods of the lake Like my life and yours, some days we run in circles, other days we might be flat, or appear in striations, flipping from one crisis to the next or one joyful event to another. But the currents keep running, the lake’s and mine.
Like the lake I hope my life current continues onward for many more birthdays. Like the lake, ageless, alive, moody, passionate, placid, tempestuous. Female.
Enjoy the wintry moods of the lake.
I started out thinking I’d write about contests, but then I realized I really was thinking more along the lines of volunteering with contest judging or coordinating being a subset.
So, you think? She’s truly weird…how did she get from contests to volunteering?
Well, I’m sure many would say weird plus might fit parts of my personality, but my leap of thought in this situation was that I was t6hinking of contests as my volunteering to help with them, not thinking of what I might personally gain with a contest win or a final.
Oh, volunteering as a judge or coordinator or moderator for a loop provides benefits for me, more than I imagined when I first started putting myself “out there—in the contest trenches.”
- I learned so much about writing, what works and doesn’t, by reading and judging entries.
- I found some lasting online friendships with other judges, coordinators, or people involved in giving of their time and talent to make a contest succeed. If you’ve never judged a writing contest you’d be amazed at how many hands and minds grease the contest wheels for success.
- I learned new skills for using the computer, the internet, the group loops.
- I developed even better organizational and time management skills.
I could surely come up with more that I’ve received as “gifts” for volunteering—all helpful to me in so many parts of my life. I have to say I’ve used contest volunteering as an example here, but from experiences in my personal life with volunteering, I also know these truths are universal. And believe me, I’ve done many volunteer hours in different capacities and venues–from church to community to professional.
My point for all of us to ponder this week is this. Sometimes we fear we aren’t “good enough” or have “enough knowledge or skill” to be useful. Not true in most cases. If you aren’t sure, but want to dip a hand to help, ask if a group can use you and list what you are good at when they ask. You’d be very surprised how skills and talents are transferrable.
But back to contests: Two of my writing groups have current or upcoming contests for unpublished writers. WisRWA‘s FAB 5 and Kiss of Death’s, Daphne. I’ll be judging and helping with the loops for both.
In closing, the weather outside in frightful—as in dark and depressing. Lake Michigan looks like a wicked brandy slush.
Perfect conditions, I guess, to work on the #1 goal from last week. Word—and building a template.