Thursday, March 31, 2011

Building Blocks.

Interesting blog title, eh? Building blocks. It can mean so many things. Wanna know where I got the title? From my hot chocolate mug that has the name of my preschool ministry on it: Building Blocks. But it applies here as well.

Building blocks and baby steps pretty much go hand in hand. You can't have the completed castle before you build it and you can't run before you walk. It's a common-known fact. Today's blog post will be short.

I'm ready to be published. Like, right now, I'd love to see my book on the Bestseller list and see it in the paper or whatever. I've wanted to be published for a long time. But now I'm learning to walk before I run.

Last time I pitched a novel - my military novel Willing to Die, my author bio was kind of crappy. I had little to no writing credits and so I was pretty much trying to run before I walked. Now, this time around, I'm walking first. My author bio looks pretty tight now with a good many writing credits. Biography in a nonfiction compilation, assistant editor of DevoKids, Honorable Mention in a national writing contest...I'm slowly padding my author biography and so I hope that that will help me to get published. Who knows?

The waiting for word back about my manuscripts is killing me but I'm surviving. Learning a lot about prayer and God's will and just waiting. Waiting stinks but I'm getting better at it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Making a Life Change

Yep. You heard (or read) correctly. Michelle Higdon is making a life change. Turning over a new leaf. Starting afresh. Call it what you will but I am changing the way I live life today - at least part of it. And I know that right now, as you read this blog post, you are salivating and wishing I would just tell you what life change I am making. Am I going to stop procrastinating? Start learning to play that guitar sitting in the corner of my room? Be more outgoing?

No. To all those. Yes, those are great things I should endeavor to do but, hey, a girl can only make one life change at a time. So here is what I am going to do.

I am going to be healthy. Lose weight. Eat better. However you would like to phrase it, it remains the same. I am going to make the change today. Why this sudden change, you ask? Because I finally decided to use the scale my parents bought me (I asked for it - I was too cheap to buy one myself). When I did, I was in for a shock. And no, I'm not gonna tell you what it read but I am going to tell you that it was not a pleasant number.

School really throws a kink in my "lose weight, eat healthy" schemes. When you've been in classes all day, doing homework, etc., etc., who wants to exercise that night? Not me. That's my problem - I always find a reason to put it off. "Oh, darn, I just got out of the shower!" "Oh, darn, too much homework tonight." Or my favorite, "Oh, darn, I forgot...well, I'll just do it tomorrow." Yeah, and then tomorrow NEVER comes.

But now I am going to do it. I gave up soft drinks at New Year's and that hasn't been a walk in the park. However, instead of giving up soft drinks, I traded my 100 calories in an 8 oz. bottle of Pepsi for 120 calories in Hi-C Fruit Punch. Why didn't I go straight to water? Now I've gotta wean myself off Hi-C as well.

So, the plan. Here it is. Are you ready? Maybe the plan can work for you too!

  • Drink only water.
  • Eat only healthy food (easier said than done at school) except when absolutely necessary. No more chicken strips & fries, no more burgers. Yep. You heard it here first, folks. Michelle Higdon is swearing off chicken strips. Except for maybe the occasional Chick-fil-a run, of course.
  • Exercise. I will be enjoying my 10 Minute Solutions Blast Off Belly Fat DVD every night. Yes, you heard me. Every night. Unless I go for a run or something instead, but I hate running so I don't have very high hopes for that one
Okay, who thinks I can do it? I do. So let's see...ready? Set? Go!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Conference Woes

Went to a writer's conference this weekend and left all depressed-like. It was amazing, do not get me wrong, those of you shaking your heads at me and wondering if I'm on crack. The thing just depressed the snot out of me. Let me explain.

I learned a gazillion and one things. Like literally, a gazillion and one. How to change my middle from muddle to magnificent, how to creep out (and not creep out) an editor, how to make my characters set apart, etc. And it depressed me. Cause now I have so much work to do on my novel! Argh! My friend Beth and I spent Friday night on the way to my aunt's house reworking my novel. Which was great but now I've got a bunch of work to do. Oh well.

Another way the conference depressed me was that I went to this workshop class on your first page, led by an agent who read the first pages and commented on what was good/bad and whether or not she would want to read more. She must have read at least 15 first pages and all of them were good - in her opinion - and she would choose to read more! So if all those good first pages are out there, what makes mine any better? Why should I be the one who gets published? That depressed me to no end - even though I thought some of the first pages were kinda crappy. Anyway.

The conference did have some highlights - I met two wonderful women who were hilarious - Amy and Erin. They were super funny and it was a joy to meet them, even though the conference didn't give us much time for socializing. It was also nice to see that Beth and I weren't the only ones who skipped the morning Keynote and devotion...

So yes, now I see the sheer amount of work ahead of me but I also got some good feedback on my novel and I think I might have finally found my niche. Maybe. So now it's time to put the pedal to the metal, the fingers to the keyboard (insert more cliches here) and fix my novel!

Geez, I love conferences...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Patience...Hard stuff!

Man, they tell you all the time that "patience is a virtue." Well, thank you, Mr. Perfect, I know that. But did anyone really say that impatience was a vice? My patience has been put to the test lately - basically through my own doing and so I decided to blog on patience for all of you peoples out there who are as impatient as me or at least a little impatient.

Recently, I went to a writer's conference and met probably the nicest agent I've ever met. She was friendly, VERY nice during my pitch session (which was good because I was super duper nervous) and wrote me a really sweet card because I helped her out with making some copies. I mean, talk about a really good experience!

Trouble is, she asked for a proposal. Now I know all you people out there (and my writer group people) are all like 'that's fantastic, at least she wanted to see it!' and, yes, that's how I was at first as well. All, woo-hoo, bring it on, she wants a proposal, happy dance around the dorm room. Yeah. I happy danced. A lot. Called my mom, told my writer's group, told facebook, twitter, etc.

But now comes the patience part I talked about earlier. This particular agent was nice enough to send me an email saying she'd got my proposal and she'd hope to get back to me within six weeks. Uh-oh. Start the patience meter, my gut's saying it's gonna run out in about 6 DAYS. And it kinda did. I'll find myself thinking about my proposal at the oddest times, wondering if she's looked at it yet, trying not to get the hopes up, realizing that's impossible and even daydreaming different scenarios. Yep. I'm a nutter.

Then, I started thinking about it. This agent is more than likely super busy. She probably gets like a zillion proposals a day. Plus, she does consulting work as well so that takes time. Six weeks is probably a SUPER short time compared to other agents. It's just my fault that I'm impatient naturally.

So I've come up with some ways to get my mind off my proposal and figured I'd share them with you in case you were curious about how you can spend your time - other than crossing off dates on the calendar, working down to the six-week mark (yeah, I did that...)

  1. Do something else. *Light bulb moment!* If you're waiting to hear on a proposal, don't just stop writing. Me, I'm working on my sequel so I'll have something to back up my novel once I do get it published or contracted. An agent/editor doesn't want a one-book wonder. They want someone who has more in the wings. So write.
  2. Try not to think about the proposal. Now, that is harder said than done. Number one, don't get your hopes up. Don't decide the agent/editor is going to say no but don't decide your proposal is so awesome, they'll put you on Regis & Kelly tomorrow. Just don't think about it.
  3. This one is most important. Pray about it. If it's God's will, it'll happen. I've been trying to do God's will for my life, not only in this but in all things. So I'm just praying that if God wants my story out in the world, He'll get it there in His own time. Each morning I pray that His will would be done with my proposal. It's still hard to wait but I can do it. And if I can do can you!!
Patience is hard. But it's not impossible!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Break

Okay, we're deviating from the Things I Wish I'd Known series for this post. I'm sitting in my dorm room, clothes in my car, DVDs chosen and packed and easy mac packs loaded and on the backseat. Yep. You guessed it. It's time for Spring Break!

Ah, Spring Break. It comes but once a year and is a time for students to leave the schoolbooks at school, the hassles and stress in that last class, the projects in the dorm room. Students are to have fun, relax and rejuvenate for the upcoming last month and a half of the semester. Right? These are the acknowledged rules of Spring Break.

Oh, yeah. Don't delude yourself. Along with my DVDs (most of which I left at school), is a WalMart reusable bag full of books (not fun ones) and notebooks for projects. I have about three nonfiction books to read and reports to write on those books. I have about four chapters to read in my Anthropology book. I have to plan at least four lessons on World War II - if not more.

Not to mention that I'm working Tuesday, Wednesday and either Thursday or Friday next week. And I've got a list of things to do for the college ministry while they're on a mission trip next week. Plus, I'm supposed to observe next Monday at BRHS and then teach either Thursday or Friday. Teach. As in, in front of real live high school students.

So yeah. Spring Break. A week of relaxation and fun...and oodles and oodles of work! YAY!!