Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The tug of a perfect love affair

Like many of you, we've had company over the last week. Lots of food and conversation, stories and catching up. Christmas morning, I felt a pinch inside watching my boys unwrap gifts that reflect how much they've grown, how fast they've gone from believing in Santa and unwrapping Batman action figures to getting a weight bench or a laptop as their one big gift. It's been great, yet through all of the noise and activity (skating, walks to the river, some of them running 7 km into town and the rest of us meeting them at a coffee shop) a restlessness began to take hold. My mind started to wander and I'd catch myself drifting away from what everyone else was saying.

Yesterday, my husband whispered, "You want to go work on your book, don't you?"

"Is it that obvious?" I asked, and he smiled and said, "To me it is."

Today, a group went snowboarding and won't be home until tomorrow. The rest left to visit relatives and won't return until Thursday. Which leaves me alone, at my desk, writing. And as I do, I realize now more than ever that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I was meant to do -- which is what I wish for each of you in the year ahead, the perfect love affair between what you most desire and what you were meant to do.

Happy New Year readers, writers and bloggers!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The toughest thing I've done this year? Learning to trust my instincts

Which is great in theory, but difficult in practice.

Once you're published there's lots of white noise going on in the background that's almost impossible to ignore. Everyone has an opinion and you feel pressure (right or wrong) from all angles -- readers, your agent, your publisher, bloggers, fellow authors, book reviewers. Do their opinions matter? Of course. But at some point you realize you can't allow them to hijack your writing either, because then you risk killing your inner voice which could lead to pumping out one vanilla-like novel after another, and who wants that?

I like the 'Go Big or Go Home' mantra, and as I write these days that's what's been going through my mind. Right or not, I've been trusting my instincts more with this novel than I did with the other three. Will doing so make it a stronger book? Only time will tell, but I can tell you that the journey has been far more enjoyable and empowering, so it's all good.

Other tidbits of interest:

Two weeks ago, my thirteen-year-old asked if he could read my novel, The Tin Box. (He's become a reading machine and had temporarily run out of books). Right now, he's halfway done and yesterday he searched me out to tell me he cannot believe I wrote it, one of the most backwards compliments a mom can get. I think.

My eleven-year-old is going to be a pen pal to a girl in Britain. He brought home a permission form and explained that all of the girls in his class had signed up to be her pen pal but no boys, which he thought was sexist, so he decided to write her so she doesn't think Canadian boys are jerks.

Construction work on my street has screeched to a halt for winter (insert heavenward high-five) which means I no longer have a porta-potty in my yard, the phone/internet line won't keep getting cut off for days at a time and we won't get evacuated like we did last month because they've hit another gas line (who hires these people?!)

Last of all, happy holiday season everyone, and thanks for all your kind emails in 2009, readers! Your comments and encouragement mean more to me than you can imagine.