My Sweet Valley past

The Sweet Life #1: An E-SerialBefore I found chicklit.  There was Sweet Valley High.

You have no idea how many Saturday’s I spent sitting on the couch reading and taking interval breaks to roller skate and eat peaches.  Just ask my sisters, they made sure to torture me, completely baffled by my ability to read quietly for hours.

But nothing could tear me away from The Wakefield twins.

I outgrew them eventually, heading to the big girl section of the bookstores, even took up reading some of my dad’s Jackie Collin’s books and enjoyed The Bitch.  Now that was a departure from my innocent days in good old Sweet Valley.

I just saw a link of Frugal e-reader that alerted me Francine Pascal is releasing a series of novella’s starting July 15th.    Looks like my favorite twins are coming back. Older, wiser, married and with child!!!

Well, well, well.  Looks like we’ve all been busy the last 10 years, including Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.  I am looking forward to the new novella’s, a nice way to spend some summer reading time, just like  I  used to when I was 12.

Minus the annoying sisters,  who now  just call me and take me out to lunch to distract me from reading!

 

 

Finding Balance in Change

I used to love change.

For years, I would purposely move, get a new job, apartment, haircut, boyfriend … whatever, just so I could shake up my life and see what would happen.  There have been great things and not so great things that have come about from this type of living.  I haven’t always had a ton of stability and often times I would leave just when things were getting good. In hindsight, I realize that had I stayed around, change would have occurred while standing in one place, because that’s just the way life works.

Change happens whether you want it or not.

These days, change makes me nervous because I have so many things I’m trying to juggle.

I’ve got a full-time job, writing, my family, my little peanut, friendships and a new (scary) role as a mom. 

When I was pregnant, I was pretty sure that I would be able to hold on to my life. I pictured myself taking my son everywhere with me –dinner parties, concerts,wine tastings and  champagne brunches.

I would still be me, just with a cute baby on my hip.

Clearly, the mommyclub hadn’t filled me in on how vastly different my life was going to look.

I’ve had a lot of adjustments to make. Lots of things to give up and a lot more time at home. And  I am totally fine with it. I see friends when I can, I spend a lot of time with my family and I adore every minute I spend with my son, watching him grow and that gummy smile he gives me when he figures something out for the first time.

I do miss the old me and I’m trying to see how I can still have her. At least parts of her.

Just last week I went to the mall and I was about to buy this great new dress. A perfect cocktail dress in a gorgeous pale coral, and I grabbed it off the rack and headed straight to the cash register to buy it. But as I stood there, I began to wonder “When in the hell am I actually going to wear this?” While I am at the park?  Doing laundry? Making baby food?  At work? Writing at the library? Storytime at Kidspace Museum? Nah, I put it back on the rack and left the store.

At the moment, it’s not just part of my life and at times I can feel that I am losing the woman I used to be.

Sure, I go out  with friends every now and then. Or we get a babysitter and head out for dinner and drinks. But a lot of times we do things as a family, and it’s  a jeans and ballet flats kinda night, not quite a coral cocktail dress and high heels worthy. Not yet.

Right now I am in search of balance. Trying to find time for me, while exploring my new life and role.

It’s true, that I love being a mom, it’s everything I never knew I wanted and then some!

But I need to find time to still be the fun, carefree girl I used to be.  I need to wear pretty dresses and high heels and I really  could use a jalapeno margarita.

Maybe, two.

 

 

 

A Writing Life

In the last few years, I have become more serious about working on the fiction that lives in my mind. It’s always been there, but I wasn’t ready or disciplined to do it, until now.

As a newspaper journalists, writing was done on the fly. I had a fast and furious daily deadline that I had to meet. I came in at 9 a.m., found my story for the day and off I went, hustling interviews, fact checking, finding art or getting a photo assigned. By 5 p.m. my story was written and turned into my editor. And I was planning my story for the next day.

It was a grind, but I liked the pace. And the deadline forced me to write.

Fiction is a whole other animal.

Deadlines are self-imposed now and there’s no one to hold you accountable except for yourself.  And guess what? You will forgive yourself for choosing gelator over sitting at your desk for hours. I do it all the time.

One of the best things that I ever did was to join a writer’s group. After years of thinking about it, I finally signed up, paid and started attending the Los Angeles chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Through the group, I met other writers,joined a group and suddenly had someone to be accountable too, it has been exactly what I need.

But what truly began to resonate is that the only way to write a book is to sit my ass down.

Here are some other little writing gems I’ve discovered since I’ve started working on my novel.

  • There’s always time to write. Even if it’s 20 minutes while the baby is napping and I’m trying to eat a piece of toast, take a minute and write a paragraph. A 100 words. Or jot some notes down that I can come back too.
  • The writing process begins in my head. A lot of times, I’m working on a chapter, flushing out character details or getting inspiration while I’m out living life. Washing my hair, pumping gas, changing a diaper, eating an apple. Ideas come from anywhere!  I carry a notebook with me and write ideas down. Or I just let it marinate in my mind.
  • I read Anne Lamont’s book Bird By Bird years ago where she said that every first draft is a “shitty first draft.” That helps to say out loud. The first draft doesn’t have to be great, it just has to get done. This is my mantra when I start getting sidetracked and rewrite a page over and over again. Just get the first draft done.
  • Let music inspire. I often will find that a certain song will make me think of my book, a character or a mood that I’m trying to get across in a scene. Sometimes playing that song will help me when I’m writing.
  • Eat lots of chocolate.  It inspires me!

What gets you writing? And what are some tips that have helped you?

I’d love to hear!