My fabulous Master Immersion Class is done, vacations are over, it’s time to get serious.
Meaning, put down achievable and quantifiable goals on paper and aim for a finish line. Notice I didn’t say the finish line, but a finish line. Goals are infinite and full of finish lines. I just need to pick which one to go for and google map my route.
FIRST, THE SCHEDULE
To determine my end goal, aka finish line, I have to know the time I’ll have in the next few weeks. I have a tendency to list daily goals that take three days to complete. Listing daily goals is good, setting myself up for failure is not. So it’s important to know what amount of time I can dedicate to my goal.
Writing is as important to me as my health. I’ve invested a lot in both priorities and sometimes I feel like they are stepping on each other toes. When I visit my doctor, I lose two hours of driving. While I’m in town, I’ll go to stores I don’t have close to my home, stores like Whole Foods. So usually, on doctor days, I don’t plan any writing.
I also play tennis, which I consider part of my health regimen. Tennis is fun, social and cardio. A tennis match usually lasts two hours. Once I’m on the courts, I can play longer with willing partners. Last week, on Wednesday, I put in six hours of tennis and burned a whooping 3200 calories. My body hated me the next day, but it was the jumpstart I needed when I got back from vacation. I had to burn off all those virgin, half-sugar mojitos.
I’m currently doing the Elimination Diet and I’m at the stage where I reintroduce new food. When the food agrees with me, all’s fine. When it doesn’t, I’m down for the count for three days, while it gets eliminated from my body. That can also take away from my writing time.Read More
I left last Wednesday on a short vacation with my DH. He deserved a few days off; he works long hours and he needed a break. I was just back from Colorado. I didn’t feel “settled” into my routine yet. And I was afraid my diet would take a backseat and I would be thrown off course. My doctor gave me a simple reminder: one can’t stop living because of a diet.
How true. It was up to me to make my diet work on vacation.
The diet I’m following is not about counting calories and losing weight, though losing weight is a nice by-product. It’s about finding out which food I’m intolerant to. That’s why it’s called the Elimination Diet.
It’s about healing my digestive tract and making it work to its potential, so nutrients can be absorbed and so insulin can be efficient. To do that, I needed to eliminate common felon foods.
My list of not-to-be-eaten food is impressive: no gluten, no dairy, no soy. No corn, no nightshade vegetables, no caffeine. No legumes, no grains, no sugar. No alcohol.
How To Deal With The ED While Traveling
The first and most important element of success to staying strong on a diet is a supportive partner. Check. The second is to be inventive about food options. Check. The third is to accept being fussy in restaurants. Check.
When we landed in Fort Lauderdale, we went straight to Whole Foods. We had lunch and we bought fruits and kombucha teas. We stayed two nights in Miami Beach and breakfast was included. I did need help from a nice lady who spoke Spanish to explain to the cook I wanted two fresh whole eggs plus an egg white. Fresh, not the liquid eggs. I added fruits on my plate and I was golden.
The first day in Miami Beach we decided to enjoy the beach and the poolRead More
Sacrificing the pitchfork is like killing your darlings, but instead of letting go of a cute turn of phrase, the writer slashes out a plot twist. Sacrificing the pitchfork is not an official writerly term. It’s the plot twist I need to slash.
PLOT TWIST MOTIVATION
In my manuscript, The French Way, my heroine takes a pitchfork from the stable and blocks the backdoor to prevent the villain to escape. It’s the black moment, the climactic fight between my heroine and the bad guy. The hero meanwhile is on the road, pushing his horse to its limit to reach Sophie on time.
I really like the pitchfork idea. It keeps Dubois, the villain, from exiting the cabin through the back, forces him to face Sophie.
Except, I can’t give Sophie the right motivation to jam the pitchfork against the backdoor. This action needs to make sense. It either needs to echo an earlier act in the book, or she needs to know what will happen in that cabin. The pitchfork needs a reason.
THE DANGERS OF EDITING AND RE-PLOTTING AT THE SAME TIME
I’m in the editing stage of my manuscript. I’m deep editing and correcting the plot in the same breath and it’s a challenge. In my first version, at the beginning of the book, Sophie’s family is arrested but she escapes. She tricks the soldiers by leaving a secret door ajar while she climbs out the window. She reaches the stable and gathers the clothes and money hidden for her escape.
The secret door leads to a tunnel with an exit close to the carriage house. Sophie notices the door has been barricaded and she hears the soldiers grumble and make their way back into the house.Read More
Every week, I write down my goals and share them with my career coaches. Some week, I cross them all off. Sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t cross my goals off a few weeks in a row, I know it’s time to re-acquire my target.
Though my mental acuity held strong during my stay at Margie Lawson‘s Immersion Master Class in Colorado, when I came back last week, I fell into a slump. My brain didn’t function as well or as long as it did in Colorado. I didn’t go back to tennis or to the gym. I was tired.
I didn’t reach my goals last week.
During Easter Weekend, I decided to take a step back and look at my target. Every week, I write down my goals, which pave the way to said target. When life goes too fast, I forget the reason behind my weekly goals and I let them become another to-do list.
My target is to finish editing my manuscript, The French Way, so I can start the submission process. And start a new project. That’s why I went to Immersion Class, and that’s why I’m taking an online class with Margie called Fab 30. The goal of the class is to edit 30 pages in 30 days, with Margie deep editing and by exchanging pages with an editing partner.Read More
Two Immersion Classes back to back. Two different groups of writers. One common goal: improving our craft.
I’m flying home today after twelve full days of character descriptions, turning points and mental acuity. The last few words created a rhetorical device. Can you guess which one?
A zeugma: a figure of speech in which a word applies to two others in different senses or to two others of which it semantically suits only one. If you can’t remember the definition, remember the spelling. It’s worth a high score on Words With Friends.
I met our second Immersion group at the Denver airport with Margie Lawson. Diane and Jacki were excited about the class and we discussed our manuscripts. Diane had a character named Sophia, mine is Sophie. Jacki has no character with that name; it’s her middle name, same for her mother and grand-mother, and now her daughter.
The last member of our group, Kari, waited for us at the lodge. One of her character is Sophia, but her MC is Grace, same as Jacki. Diane and Kari both shared a sidekick named Kiki. Similar names and different characters, but it was still one big coincidence. We preferred to call it serendipity.
CHARACTER DESCRIPTIONS AND TURNING POINTS
Immersion Classes with Margie Lawson are intense and productive. Like a mountain guide armed with highlighters and a red pen, she leads us through character descriptions, turning points, rhetorical devices, backloading and power words.
I had a minor character, faceless and shapeless. All he had was a name and an attitude. After going through Margie’s exercise, here is the new Marcel:Read More