Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Warm Fuzzies and Keeping the Creativity Flowing

Thanks to Grace (and Blair and Daryn) for sharing that behind the scenes look at the FBI tour. So sorry to hear you're under the weather, and we all send you wishes for a speedy recovery.

Life notes of the warm fuzzy variety. A while back, I mentioned how hubby's forced "retirement" was all but ignored by the company he worked for. However, the scientific organization he's been deeply involved in for several decades is made up of people cut from different cloth. I'd worked as an assistant for the group until a year ago, and have kept in touch with some of the people I worked with. (If you read the blog post on whale sex, you'll have 'met' one of them.) Due to correspondence on a totally different matter, I mentioned that no, we wouldn't be getting together at the next Biennial, which is in Quebec, since hubby was no longer employed and we were trying to be careful with our pennies until we got a better handle on expenses, etc. Plus, we're hoping to move, so until then, we'd rather put our bucks toward all the expenses that will entail.

Within three days, aforementioned friend and colleague had rounded up a band of elves who have made sure that both hubby and I (after all, I worked for them for 10 years) will be attending the conference. Airfare and hotel room are covered in full.

Then, yesterday, our son sent an email with a subject line of "Happy (a bit early)." Attached was a confirmation of two tickets for a 4 night Bahamas cruise as an anniversary gift, paid in full by two of our kids. And a 'junior suite' with a balcony no less.

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And we've also got our own plans to have dinner at the elegant "Victoria and Albert's" restaurant in the Grand Floridian hotel.

We do this every 5 years on those 'zero' and 'five' year anniversaries, and last time, we vowed that we'd splurge and get a room so we didn't have to drive home after all the food and wine pairings. Hubby made the reservations. Of course, he didn't tell me, and the hotel is one of those persnickety ones that requires you pay for the room in advance (with a five day cancellation policy, no yet), and I thought someone had ripped off his credit card when I saw the charge to Disney on our statement.

Maybe if I stop eating altogether between now and that dinner, and then again between that dinner and the cruise, I'll still fit into my clothes. But ohmigod—a bathing suit? Yowzers.

Writing notes: Not a whole lot. There's been some blogging about breaking out of ruts, keeping the creativity flowing. Yesterday, I struggled to make my minimum word count, feeling that there wasn't anything important happening in the scene. When that happens, there are lots of potential reasons – I've addressed them here several times already. For this one, it seemed that the conflict wasn't strong enough.

Although I was tempted to stop writing and work on something else (I do have that workshop on Saturday to prepare for), I did the BICHOK thing and met my word count, even though I knew it was likely to fall under the ax of the delete key the next day. After all, this is a "spec" book, and I have no deadline, right? Who's to say I can't take a day off and regroup.

Me, that's who. I think it's vital to remember that writing has to be approached as a job, not a hobby if you're serious about it. Even without a contract dangling in front of you. And, as Nora Roberts has been quoted more times than the number of books she's written: "You can't fix a blank page." So, for me to say, "Oh, something will come to me tomorrow." Or, "I'll figure this out later," just wasn't going to cut it. I wrote that scene, and then I printed it out and read it again this morning. With my handy red gel-pen, I noted all the reasons for the scene in the margins. I found I had built up some sexual tension between two characters, and dug a little deeper into their relationship. I established the current status of the investigation. I inserted a little 'ticking clock',' and I ended with something that (I hope) will put another question in the mind of the reader so they'll turn the page.

Is it brilliant writing? Not as strong as it could be (although hubby liked the last lines). But at least now I have something to FIX.


Nancy J. Cohen said...

What wonderful surprises. Relax and Enjoy!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Nancy. We're looking forward to it all.

elena said...

Such incredible and heart warming surprises. I am so delighted for both of you. Grand events to look forward to.

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow! How wonderful! Have a really really great time!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Elena & Sheila.

I've got a good month to get into shape!

Jason Odell said...

You sure do have great kids! ;)

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Jason. They were brought up right. As I've said before, at any given moment, we've got two terrific kids. It's just which two that changes.

Jess said...

I agree with Jason!