Where Has All The Summer Gone? (A Writing Lesson Learned)

cow pics 210So I was piddling around with the cows this weekend, and sometime late Sunday night, wore out from cow pies and giggles, I came across an email. An email that had somehow burrowed into an inbox black hole.  And though I occasionally discover “lost” emails, they are most often junk emails.

This was not a junk email.

It was an editor email. An editor asking, mostly nicely, whether I was going to ever get to work on the next project. And I thought (after I freaked out about it having arrived in the black hole three weeks ago) that it hadn’t really been that long. I mean, geez, it was just…let’s see…three months ago since I finished the other project and said I’d get back to her soon.

Um…three months? Three. Whole. Months. OHMYWORD! ITHADBEENTHREEMONTHS!

So, yeah. Then I really freaked out. ‘Cause basically, I work all day, most every day, writing. What had I been doing?

I suppose I could make a pie chart and figure it all out, but I think that might be a wee bit depressing, to see how I’ve actually been wasting time.

And anyway, I have been working. Of course I’ve been working. I just don’t have anything tangible…say, like an improved bank account…to show for it. That’s the unfortunate side of working on picture book manuscripts or middle grade manuscripts or any manuscript, for that matter. You work and work and write and write–and all the while, you’re operating on all sorts of intangibles.

Like faith in yourself and your work, trusting that your craft’s improving, hoping that this time, you’ve captured on paper the story that’s in your heart.

You can’t put faith, hope, and trust in a bank. But I still believe that someday, that work will pay off.

In the meantime, I’ve responded to that email and thanked that editor for her extreme patience. And though she hasn’t given me a deadline, I kinda think I need to finish this project tout de suite. So there’ll be no more watching comedians or listening to Julie Andrews or messing with cows.

Well. Maybe one more cow pic. (Who knew they were so darn cute?) cow pics 211


Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off To Write We Go (After We Visit the Cows)

ImageA few posts ago, I mentioned that writing–and writing often–begets better writing. And that inspired me to pen “Becoming a Better Writer: Easier Than You Think” for my last Muffin musing. ICYMI, you can check it out here. (Public Service Announcement: ICYMI stands for In Case You Missed It. It’s embarrassing how long I stared at those letters till I figured it out.)

And for those of you struggling to become a better “tell-a-story-in-an-essay” writer, I’m passing along Linda O’Connell’s excellent tips, over at the Pen and Prosper blog. I read on her blog that she’s giving away a Chicken Soup book to one of the lucky commenters at her Pen and Prosper post. And in my experience, there is nothing like reading 100 Chicken Soup stories to get the feel for writing a Chicken Soup type story/essay.

I’m also including a heads up to the Green River Writers Contest. I like to support writers’ groups and Kentucky is a lovely state. Plus, whatever you’ve been working on to become a better writer is sure to find a category in this contest. (Check out the guidelines for fees and publishing rights.)

Lastly, because all (writing) work and no play makes Cathy a dull girl, I took Cathy-on-a-Stick out on a, uh…uh…whatchamacallit.

(Now see? Writing a sentence like that makes me realize I need to get back to work.)