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Holiday update and 2021 goals

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on Pexels.com

Oh my love
We’ve had our share of tears
Oh my friends
We’ve had our hopes and fears
Oh my friends
It’s been a long hard year
But now it’s Christmas
Yes, it’s Christmas
Thank God it’s Christmas

-Queen

There are only a handful of days left in the Hardest Year Ever. Let’s be grateful for that, even if we can’t find much else to be grateful for right now.

But there is a lot to be grateful for.

On the professional side: I finished the second draft of my novel, Holding Pattern. I hired a writing coach who has helped me through a lot of my anxieties surrounding publishing and self-promotion. I connected with dozens of other writers, some of whom have become treasured friends. I joined a twice-weekly writing group. I established some good habits. I prettied up this website a bit (okay, it’s a work in progress).

On the personal side, my immediate family is all healthy and as happy as we can be given the circumstances. The kids are still distance learning, which is not their favorite, but they are doing the best they can. My husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage in October, which feels like a big accomplishment.

This will likely be my last post of 2020, so I wanted to share some goals for the new year.

My first and biggest goal is to get Holding Pattern published. I will be both querying agents/editors and exploring indie publishing. Right now I can see that there are strong benefits and drawbacks to either method. It will be interesting to see what happens as I send this darling little book baby of mine out into the world. I will also be working with beta readers, working on fine tuning the language, and hiring a professional editor to help me get the manuscript as polished as possible.

My second goal is to try and use this website more effectively. I know myself well enough to know that committing to a set schedule for posting will probably backfire. So I’ll just do the best I can.

My third goal has to do with the new little book baby that’s currently being birthed. I’m about 20k words in. I’m hoping to finish a first draft by the end of 2021.

Thanks for sticking with me. Wishing you the very best holiday season and looking forward with excited anticipation to the New Year!

-M

Uncategorized

Some word vomit for your Sunday morning

So clearly, my last plan failed. To be honest, I haven’t opened my laptop since the last day I posted here. I got sick the next day and so did my daughter (not with coronavirus, although I can’t be completely sure of that, can I? because we sure don’t meet the qualifications for a test), and then honestly I forgot all about it. So here we are.

To be honest, I probably shouldn’t even plan to participate in any kind of challenge. To be honest, I’m not feeling particularly creative right now. All I really want to do is sleep and maybe read a little. I don’t feel depressed or anxious, I just feel kind of numb. I find it amusing to read social media posts from people who feel bored or who have all this free time. I guess I have a hard time remembering what life is like without small children around.

What will you do with all this extra time? the world asks. Learn to play an instrument! Paint the house! Organize your closet! Keep a daily journal of this extraordinary time in history! Take an online class! Watch all the movies! Do ALL THE THINGS!

All I want to do is take a nap. And read my book. Maybe sit out on my patio and get some sunshine occasionally.

If anything, my life is exactly like it was before the shutdown, only now the kids are just here all. the. time. I’m constantly serving food, mediating sibling disputes, kissing boo-boos, supervising schoolwork (and schoolwork-related anxiety attacks). And I do get more rest. That’s a good thing. But not so much with writing time. I used to occasionally have a few quiet hours on a Tuesday or Thursday if my husband was on day shift to be able to be creative but now…. not so much. It’s not a complaint so much as…. it is what it is. Uninterrupted time just does not exist.

My husband is an essential worker, so he still has to go to work every day. Will he be exposed to the virus at work? I don’t know. My oldest kid has diabetes and I have asthma, two conditions that increase the chances of dying if we do contract the virus.

[Insert first interruption here: Husband needed to get hangers out of our closet. Okay.]

Anyhow. It scares me a little, and sometimes I can feel the tension rising in my body when I read about how many confirmed cases there are and

[Second interruption: Kids barge in without knocking, certain Daddy is hiding in the bedroom. He’s not.]

Faith is something I struggle with. I grew up evangelical. I’ve done my time in many different states of religious/spiritual belief ranging from atheism to Unitarian Universalist to liturgical Christian to semi-agnostic holiday-observing-but-otherwise-non-practicing mishmosh of Christian/Jewish, with a smattering of admiration for earth-based and non-deity-centric spiritual practices, which is kind of sort of where I stand today. It would be nice to be able to have a religious faith guiding me through, but I just don’t. I don’t feel comfortable within any religious/belief system. I don’t really believe God has a plan or there is some deeper meaning or benefit to all of this. I’m just getting through one day at a time. Quiet resignation. It is what it is.

The thing I hate is what it is doing to my kids. I mean, they are fine, for the most part. My oldest will finish his semester online. He misses his friends but he is old enough to get this whole thing. My 9 year old daughter is a ball of anxiety and disappointment. She was gearing up for her dance recital, in rehearsals for her school play, she was finally thriving in a fantastic new school and looking forward to field trips and activities. She misses her friends and her teachers. Online school really sucks for her because she is such an extrovert and she loves participating in class and being around other kids. And my little guy is missing out on his one and only year of preschool, which I was enjoying almost as much as he was.

I am grateful that we are all well. I am grateful that my husband is still employed and that this shutdown doesn’t affect his salary or his job. I am grateful to be able to be home with the children. I am grateful that we are fed and housed and clothed and medicated. I am grateful for this big, comfy house with a backyard we can play in. Yet. It’s still a big pile of suck.

[Third interruption: Oldest kiddo needs me to double check his insulin pump insertion site.]

Anyhow this is getting long and has just become one big pile of word vomit, and I’m sure the next interruption is on its way, so I’ll end here for now. Stay home. Wash your hands. Peace.

Uncategorized, writing

Starting is the hardest part

Hi. Welcome. I’m Maggie, and I’m a writer. I write fiction and essays. I’ve been a writer all my life, but have never felt comfortable claiming that I’m a writer. It still feels a little scary to me. But I’m ready to do scary things.

This is my new blog, and it’s something I’ve wanted to start for a long time. Now that I’m here, I’m finding it hard to figure out exactly how to begin. I’m reminded of the advice that when you start making a batch of pancakes, the first one is always terrible, so you just make it, throw it away, and move on. So, this post is my first pancake, if you will.

I had a blog over at Myspace (RIP) many years ago, and then a few years later I started a new blog at Blogspot/Blogger. I never gained a huge following or changed the world, but it was my own little space to put down words to express myself. Along the way, my life changed dramatically, as did blogging. It became easier to type a handful of words into a Facebook status than to sit down and write a well-thought-out blog post, and then at some point, I stopped doing even that on any kind of regular basis. Now I’m not sure if too many people even write blogs anymore. But I missed having a regular writing practice and a place to share my thoughts.┬áSo here we are.

First pancake completed.