Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Muddy Dogs and Revision Hell

I'm learning, slowly. Revisions are a necessary evil in writing. After glowing reviews from friends and family, I honestly thought I did not have to do much. I hate revisions. Revisions are work. And all in all, I like to avoid extra work. But the people who are actually willing to tell me I need to do them, are correct. My first, second, third, and maybe even fourth draft are rubbish. I must do revisions. I must find a way to get it done.

I live in Oregon. I don't know if that's evident in my "complete profile" and I am not tech savvy enough to spend the time to figure it out. In any case, if you don't know, Oregon is probably one of the wettest states in the US.

I've been spending a lot of time just writing, looking out the window, and writing some more. Also, I must police my two German Shepherds. When I'm home, nothing less than 50 trips in and out of the backyard will satisfy. They act as if their bladders cannot possibly hold it for more than twenty minutes at a time. I know this not to be true. When I work a ten hour shift, I come home to dry floors.

I believe getting muddy is their singular goal in life. As rainy as Oregon is, I tend to let them out separately. This creates extra work for myself - standing there, waiting for one, then putting the next one out and waiting again - but really in the end it saves me from having two completely muddy dogs.

It has been uncharacteristically dry these past few days and I decided the dogs deserved to romp around the big back yard. An hour later, I was jarred out of my revision time on my MS by the sound of thumping and romping on the deck. I looked out the glass door to see my mostly white dog was now mostly brown, and I couldn't really assess the mud damage on the mostly black dog. Though, her usually tan stockings were now as black as her backside, so I assumed the worst.

Where had they found the mud? Did they just get their feet wet then tromp around in the dirt? Where had they found the water? These are things I must wonder about. If you've never tried to wrangle two 80 pound dogs, downstairs and into a bathtub, you're missing out in life. They almost prance with pride . . . until they understand where they're going.

As I sit now with two clean dogs, exhausted from their mud play and baths, it occurrs to me, if they can find a way, on a dry day, to get muddy, then perhaps I shouldn't so easily give up revisions. I suppose there is some truth to "if there is a will, there is a way." Then again, perhaps I am just reaching for any inspiration I can find to keep plugging along.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hello blogosphere

Please note the blog title. . . clearly I'm always a little late to the party. I suppose I've just assumed you need to have kids, a crazy job, heroic battle against illness or something equally funny or inspiring to be a blogger. Then I thought maybe not. I'm guessing super-nerds have been blogging alone in their bathrobes for years.

I'm not a parent. I have a semi-crazy job (which I can't discuss for fear of being sacked - thanks HIPAA). I've never battled an illness worse than the flu, nor am I a super-nerd in a bathrobe. I don't even own a bathrobe. I suppose it is for these reasons I have not felt myself worthy of the blog.

Indeed, I've been slow to join the intertron (no I do not mean "internet" please see Mystery Science Theater for reference) bandwagon. I've only been on Face Book for about a year. I have a small profile on Goodreads.com (book nerds unite!) and that's about it. It was procrastination that eventually set me on the path to blogdom . . .

I was trying to avoid epidemiology homework. Well actually, I was trying to avoid something worse than epidemiology homework (yes there is a such a thing). I was attempting to avoid a crazy-ass partner who self identified as a "Type A personality" and preceded to tell me she'd do all the work; mostly because she was confident in the fact that I was a moron. Like I'd pin my "A" on some still wearing a banana clip in 2009 lunatic woman, claiming (but only to the cute boys at the front of the class - never mind being old enough to be their mother if not grandmother) to have been a homeless hooker. You might be wondering what kind of school I attend... I assure you it is one of Oregon's finest universities.

Anyway. I wrote this story and, feeling inspired, started a writing group with my other author hopeful friends. Everyone loved it. Of course, they're my friends. They wouldn't be my friends if they didn't love everything my creative heart put forth. Well that's great. They prodded and pushed until I bit the bullet and sent out some queries - horrible, awful things, not fit for reading.

Defeat, irritation and ultimately hard headedness (see blog title) sent me on the path to research how to get published. Oh, I was shy at first and the rejection stung. I joined an online lit critique group and it took me nearly two weeks before I'd post anything. When I finally did, I was slaughtered. They weren’t really mean. (I reasoned only after I allowed myself to sleep on it and did not post my initially planned hateful reply - taking my toys and going home) Instead, I took the critiques and improved my work. I had to take the long way to learn it, but constructive criticism is an amazing motivator.

So here I am. Creating what all the "people" in the industry say is a "must" - a blog. Though, what really frustrates me, in this age of unlimited access to information, for every "expert" telling me to have a blog, there is another who says it's not needed. What to do? What to do? I guess go with a blog . . . hope it doesn't just become a platform for ranting and maybe make some sense of this insane industry.