I’d make the excuse that my life hasn’t really been exciting enough to blog about lately, except… well, that’s not really true. I mean, it’s not like I have a double life as a secret agent or anything thrilling like that, but life has been good and fun and incredibly eventful in big and small ways. I am driving myself pretty hard on the writing front, simply because of some changes in deadlines, and some intense personal goals. And, I have some new fitness goals (which I’ll expound upon in just a bit.) My internet-type updates have been mostly in the form of twitter or facebook, but the big drawback to those is that not only are they merely small snippets of information (which is perfectly fine at times) but also that it’s not a medium where I’ll be able to go back years later and see what I wrote. (Yes, there are probably programs that will log and store my tweets or facebook updates, but I can’t see how those little snippets will make much sense without the greater context that a blog post will provide.)
The thing is, I started blogging back in 1996. No, we didn’t call it “blogging” back then. I had an “online journal” which I coded in html by hand. There was no comment feature, which gave the whole journaling thing a far different dynamic. I blogged fairly steadily until shortly after I got married in 2002, at which time my posts became fairly infrequent. In 2003 I had a miscarriage, and I pretty much stopped updating completely–which I regret now, because I have no journal record of when I was pregnant with the Kid or the early months of her life. I picked back up again with a free blog on journalscape in November 2004, later moving over to my own site and a wordpress platform, and since then have had only a few patches where I went for more than a few months without posting.
And, I’ve gone through the same strange angst at least a dozen times before, where I feel a sort of “performance pressure” about blogging, and worry that my posts aren’t interesting enough or compelling enough or [insert silly worry.] And, yes, I know I need to get over it and just write, but when I became a Published Author (and even when I was a Seriously Trying To Be Published Author) the whole dynamic seemed to shift again. Suddenly I felt that the blog had to be part of a Big Promotional Engine, and I had to be careful what I said, and diligent about providing content to draw readers in.
But you know what? That doesn’t seem to be working for me, and I don’t think that people who read this blog are all that interested in reading Promotional Stuff all the time.
So, I’m going to try and get back to my roots, so to speak. Yes, I’ll still talk about the books and my writing and my process, simply because all of that is a major part of my life. But I’m also going to talk about my opinions, and what I’m doing for fun, and what my family is doing, and stupid things that I find entertaining–all stuff that I’ll want to read five years down the road, which will possibly be stuff that you’ll want to read right now.
That being said, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past few months:
In April I went to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Columbus, OH. Even though it’s a pricey con, I really enjoy it because it feels like a perfect blend of hanging out with other writers, and meeting and hanging out with people who love to read. This year was a lot of fun, especially because of my last minute decision to bring the creepiest doll in the world. I’ll have to devote a separate blog post to Creepy Doll, because she totally deserves it.
In May I traveled to Taos Ski Valley for the Rio Hondo writer’s workshop. This is a week-long, masters-level, invitation-only writer’s workshop–and I have to be honest and say that I was more than a little stunned to get an invite. This too shall receive its own blog entry, but I’ll just say that it was a rare and awesome treat to be around so many other gifted and successful writers, and the critiques I received have improved and shaped my writing in ways that I’ll be discovering for a long time.
In April, May, and June, I did a lot of writing. A lot. When I met with my DAW editor in early April I was asked if I could shift my work/deadline schedule around and start working on the first book in my zombie series. The deadline for this is fairly tight, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to make it, and still turn in the book that I want to write. I have some really high hopes for this book as far as content/theme, and I’m really pushing to get the draft written so that I’ll have plenty of time for revisions and input from critique partners.
And, finally, my latest “thing” has nothing to do with writing or books. For the last several months I’ve been struggling to get back into shape and lose the thirty+ pounds that have crept on in the last eight years. I’ll be 44 in a few months, and it’s not going to get any easier to lose the weight. Plus, I’m sick of my joints and back hurting, and I know perfectly well that losing weight will do wonders for easing all of that. While I’ve never been a “jock”, I’ve usually maintained a fairly decent level of fitness, and have even dipped into periods of uberfitness. I liked that. I liked being in shape, and I liked trying on swimsuits and saying, “Cool!” instead of “Oh, yuck!”
Coincidentally, my sister has also been going through a “get into shape” period, and has been doing amazingly well with it. (Far better than I have, I must admit!) For the past few years she’s been saying that she wanted to do a triathlon, and while I’ve agreed that this seems like a neat goal, and even made noises about doing it with her, neither of us ever really got up the will to take it farther than talking about it.
But, like I said, she’s been kicking ass with the fitness thing. She hired a trainer (a former workout partner of mine from one of my uberfitness periods) and has lost a ton of weight, and gained a bunch of muscle and overall conditioning, and last week she emailed me the link to a sprint-level triathlon and asked me if I wanted to do it with her.
See, I do a lot better if I have a specific event or goal to train for. I tend to lose focus if my goal is just “lose 20 pounds in the next four months”. I’ll find any number of excuses as to why I can skip a day, or eat the fried chicken. Therefore, before I could think about it too hard, I went ahead and signed up and paid the money.
Therefore, on October 9th, 2011, my sister and I are going to compete in the Mighty Magnolia triathlon in Hattiesburg, MS. It’s 1/3 mile swim, 16.5 mile bike, and 3 mile run. Go us!
I started training this week, and on Monday I took my road bike out for the first time in over a year. (Bad me!) I managed a measly five miles. (In my defense, though, I deliberately didn’t push myself since I’d managed to nearly cripple myself the week before by enthusiastically throwing myself into intervals on the stationary bike and straining the ever-loving-shit out of the hip flexors on my left side. And that hurt like I’ve never had a muscle strain hurt before. Ugh!) Tuesday I went to the gym and swam laps. I’m a very good swimmer, but it’s been–literally–decades since I’ve done any sort of serious swimming. I managed to swim a quarter mile (nine laps–eighteen lengths in a 25yd pool) alternating breastroke and freestyle for the first twelve lengths, and then just breaststroke for the last six. The freestyle lengths kicked my ass, and I had to stop and catch my breath at the end of the pool after each one. Again, ugh. And then, this morning, I got up at 5:15 and ran. Well, walked/ran. Not very far either–barely over a mile. But I’m going to ease into the running very gradually since I have past issues with plantar fasciitis. (That’s another thing that I’m hoping will ease up once I’ve lost weight.)
And, otherwise, life continues.