We are in Seattle, our last day of a vacation that is both more and less a typical vacation. We have been to here half a dozen times so we’re not tourists anymore. What we have come to see and insert ourselves into for a week is the lives being lived by our beloved grandchildren and their awesome parents best told in pictures.
I have always been a traveller, a wanderer, if only by reading. But I’ve had many real life travels, too, and today I’m heading off to another adventure. Luckily, there’s the Kindle now so I don’t have to pack actual books, which I love but I love having clothing options more. Our destination today is Seattle for a week.
We’ve rented an Airbnb condo five minutes from where my son and grandkids and super DiL live. Since our boys (and grandchildren) live quite a distance, we don’t often get to do typical grandparent activities like watching a soccer or T-ball game. This week we get to do both. I think this is my fifth or sixth time in Seattle.
When I was young and fearless, I hitchhiked to New York City, to Key West and Colorado. Those were magical trips. My eyes were opened wide to a very big world outside of my little town of Taylor, Michigan. It’s impossible to capture those moments again because I’m older now. I’ve tried anyway. New York City has changed since 1972 and Key West is far different than the tourist-free paradise it was in 1974. The Rocky Mountains are probably the same, which is weirdly comforting.
I doubt I’d hop on the back of the motorcycle of a and take a winding road high up the mountain side, in fact I’m certain I would not. That guy on the motorcycle cured me of hitchhiking forever later that night. Either him or the drunk who crashed his truck on the freeway in the rain with me and my friend in it. It’s fun to be young and carefree, but bad shit happens and travel is safer and more comfortable with a plane ticket and my trusty Kindle.
I’ll take some photos and store some memories of family and always wonderful Seattle. I’ll take writing break and refill the creative well. Most important, I’ll get my granny time in and see you next week.
When’s the last time you had fun marketing your books? My answer until maybe a month ago would have been never. Then, I decided to create a Pinterest board for every one of my books. Sure, my website lists all my books with links and descriptions, but Pinterest goes the extra imagination mile, helping me find photos that express who my characters are and what their setting is, even down to the rings on their fingers and the pillows on their fictional sofas. Since the advent of Kindle, I’ve missed the element of browsing book covers. Pinterest gives that back to me, and more.
Since I’ve succumbed to the deliciousness of pinning, all my books have come more alive to me. Making a perfect board for every book is still a work in progress, but as you see above, my first two rows of boards are all for my books. Lily White in Detroit is my latest novel, so it’s the first board. Obviously you want those novels front and center for marketing. And don’t forget the buy link! I’m working a bit here and there on Pinterest as I try to finish a novel before my husband retires in December. And I have a board for that, too. It’s the best one. Jane in St Pete has categories!
When I got off Facebook, it freed up so much time. Time to write Jane in St Pete (coming in 2020) and time to play. Pinterest is very fun to play with, and while I’m not sure it will be a great marketing tool for me, it’s more than just having fun. Working with visuals spark ideas for my books…and my life.
Trouble comes to every writer. Even writers with lots of published books. Before I sat down to write this, I looked up my old posts on the topic. None of them fit my current situation, but it was fun to read them because they reminded me of how far I’ve come and that I’ve successfully solved this problem before. Here’s the thing, what used to work doesn’t anymore. I thought for a long time about not writing novels anymore. I can get my writing fix here on the blog and in my morning pages. But I’m in the middle of a book and I hate to leave things unfinished, so I put time and thought into the decision.
It took awhile for me to decide not to trash the WIP. That process of thinking through if I wanted to keep doing this at least until I finish the current project is what led to my current motivation for continuing. I figured out that my old goals weren’t working any more. For so long my goal was “get published” then “publish a book” then “publish a novel” then “switch genres” then…nothing. I’d done it all. Every single one of my writing dreams had been achieved. I’d met all my writing goals. I could die happy. (Really. This becomes an actual thing at my age.)
Eventually, with a lot of help from morning pages and a pointed question from a friend, I figured out that in order to motivate myself I needed a new goal. None of my old goals would suffice. I had reached the top of my personal book mountain. But come to find out at the top of my writing mountain, I saw the bottom of another mountain. I could continue the climb if I was willing to do the work to reach a new goal. Right away I decided that of course I was going to try. Having a goal in life (about anything, not just writing) helps me keep moving, remain upbeat, and continue striving. I don’t think about goals that much, but I need them.
I’m 64. I started writing when I was 14. That’s 50 years of always writing, always finding another mountain to climb. My supply of enthusiasm and energy for the book biz has diminished. It was bound to happen on such a long road with so many obstacles to overcome, so many wrong turns and happy detours. Diminished doesn’t mean extinguished, though. I’m not finished quite yet.
What I know now that I didn’t know before was that as long as you’re alive, you can reach higher than your biggest dreams. My new goal in finishing this novel and making it great is modest. My husband is retiring soon and we want to travel and spend more time with our grandchildren. That is the golden goal. My motivation to finish this novel and make it my best effort is to send the book to an agent a friend says is perfect for me. After that, it’s out of my hands.
When I was younger, I had many goals and dreams. What I learned then is that goals are different than dreams. Goals only work 100% when you have control over the outcome. (Dreams are another post.) I don’t have control over what the agent will say about my book. And that’s fine. I already had an agent who couldn’t sell my book and I ended up with a perfectly fine publisher anyway. That was many books ago. I’m thinking submitting to another agent is worth a shot. And it does something else: it gives me a good reason to finish this novel and make it fabulous.
It was a fluke. The Detroit Red Wings were one game away from winning the first Stanley Cup since 1955, the year I was born. Al held season tickets and he was ready to sell them. He’d make A LOT of money. He said there was only a 50/50 chance the Wings would win yet again and so early in the playoffs. But I talked him into going. “You’ll be so mad at yourself if they win.” I even offered to tag along, though I’m not a sports fan.
I have two sons and then there’s Al. They are all sports fans, so it’s not like I’d never been to a game before. I’d been to plenty, Red Wings, Pistons, Lions and Tigers…including one where my son almost caught a fly ball. It grazed Tim’s fingers then fell between my legs. Before I could retrieve it for Tim, a guy dove between my legs and grabbed the ball. He stepped into the aisle and held up the ball. People cheered him! He was kind enough to buy me a hot chocolate to make up for the one he spilled all over me in his fervor to grab that ball.
Years later, back to the Red Wings game, the game where they did indeed win the Stanley Cup. Al and I took our seats. The noise level was higher than I’d ever experienced at the dozens of games I’d suffered through over the years. Even I was a little bit excited. But then everyone stood up and slapped five as the Wings hit the puck and took the lead. Nobody sat down after that. Including Big Guy on the other side of me who was taking up half of my space.
I’d been sitting, so I guess he figured what the hell. Then, not liking his butt in my face, I got up, jostling Big Guy, who shot me a nasty look. “Sorry,” I said “You’re in my space.” I tried to stand tall (I’m 5’2″) on my little square of cement. His body turned toward me in disbelief. His look said I was speaking a foreign language, possibly from another planet. Meanwhile Al didn’t notice anything. Another goal had been scored and he was busy slapping somebody high five.
Big Guy on the other side defiantly kept one foot in my space. I decided not to mention it to Al. It was a big night for Detroit. I don’t understand the pull of sports, but I do know that many many people love everything about every sport, my husband included. Yes the Wings won the Stanley Cup and it was fun driving slow down Woodward all the way home with the crowds out dancing and chanting in the streets. I forgot all about rude Big Guy from the game.
But recently, when the videos and photos of Joe Biden’s nose and lips getting very much in women’s spaces emerged, I was reminded of Big Guy. I think Biden is creepy and that he was using white male privilege to do what he wanted. Just like Big Guy. Hardly any of my friends agree with me about Biden. Democrats across our nation mostly don’t either. Their reasons are flimsy, IMO. Sure he’s from a different era. But men have mastered their smart phones. Surely, allowing women their personal space is not beyond them.