The Author Life…or Something Like That

It’s beautiful outside today. It’s 71 degrees (according to my weather app on my Android), and there’s a breeze playing through the trees outside my window. The trees are starting to change, finally. With all the rain and wind we got here in west Michigan last week, I wasn’t sure there’d be any leaves left.

Tonight is the last home football game, and last game period for the Shelby Tigers. They fought valiantly, but without much avail this year. The highlight of the home games was the Shelby Marching Tigers, the high school marching band my son plays trumpet in. I guess maybe my opinion is swayed, being a band mom. The football team really did try hard this year.

My niece and I attended the Breathe writing conference back on October 6th, and it was amazing. I got to sit in on sessions led by two very talented women, Rachel McMillan (her Canadian accent is so COOL!) and Cynthia Beach, who led a great session on writing settings. B (my niece) and I decided we definitely want to attend the whole conference next year. It’s already in my Google calendar.

So what about actual writing? Well, I’ve been editing Lift, my YA contemporary fantasy novel coming from Wicked Whale Publishing in 2018. I’m finding out that being a pantser-type writer means quite a bit of revision. I’m also writing Tilt, the second in The Flying Ponies series.

Life does get in the way, though, of that thing we writers like to do: write. We’ve had doctor’s appointments this week and upcoming doctor and dentist appointments in the next two weeks. We’re going to Cedar Point amusement park with my husband’s brothers and their families next weekend, where I’m hoping to snag some selfies with the Muller “Haunted Cavalry Horse” carousel horse that resides in the park’s Frontier Town Museum. We’ve also got the Shelby Marching Tigers’ Spectacular next Friday night, where the marching band plays in the high school auditorium. It is quite a sight!

Throw in high school and middle school conferences, youth group activities, those pesky TV shows my hubby and I can’t live without, the books we’re trying to read, a health concern for me, and a myriad of other things (have I mentioned our two horses and two Dachshunds?!), and it’s a wonder I get any writing or editing done at all. I’m very new to this author life, and while loving it to death, I do struggle with finding time for everything. Because it’s all good stuff. Great stuff, actually, when it has to do with my family and animals.

What do you do to find time? To make time? I have a pretty pink soft cover notebook that’s quite large, and that’s what I make my writing plans in every week. I try to stick to the schedule I lay out. Sometimes I do really well, and other times, well, not so much. This week, I know without checking my planner, I didn’t do so hot. But at least I have a reference for what I really need to be working on. I put stickers and shiny sticky gemstones in it to flash it up a little. Hopefully this next week I’ll manage to follow my plans a little better.

So onward to the last football game of the season. And onward with this crazy author life!

 

Give Me Heart

Last night my husband and I watched our son, now a freshman, march during his first football game with the Shelby Marching Tigers band. Our daughter was there too; not being interested in football (yet), she read her book. And the band was great. Really, especially for it being their first performance of the year on the field. They did what my husband and son both refer to as “park and blow,” when the band marches onto the field, but then stands in formation and plays, instead of doing an actual show. Weird term, I know, but dating back at least as far as when my hubby played trumpet (which is what our son and daughter play) in high school.

But it wasn’t the marching band last night that was so striking for me (don’t tell my son that). It was the fact that though our football team was outgunned and outclassed at every maneuver, they never gave up. And that’s remarkable, given that these boys are probably between the ages of 16-18 years old, and they lost every single game last season. Let me say that again: every single game. On top of that, they only won two games the year before. The Shelby Tigers were a force to be reckoned with three or four years ago, but then, as it happens to every good team, the seniors kept graduating, and Shelby lost the boys who had made it the team to beat.

Last night, in the face of being down some forty points to zero, I watched and listened as the Shelby coach gathered his boys into a huddle, and told them to never give up. To dig deep and find the heart that he knew they all had. To play the best they could. And after that speech, those boys went out and scored a touch down. It was beautiful. It really was. And the celebration on both the field and in the stands was amazing. Because you see, our team is little compared to a lot of the other conference teams. I don’t mean in height – some of the boys are over six feet. There’s just not a lot of them. But they do the best they can. They dig deep, and they don’t quit. And that’s something to both admire and respect.

I know football isn’t for everyone. Getting excited about a small town team making one TD, and getting a one point conversion, wouldn’t wow everyone. But it wowed me last night, because the Shelby Tigers varsity football team made do with what they had, and they deserved that touch down and conversion. And the greatest thing? They did it with heart.