Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a Gloater

Every now and then my Close Personal Friend Susan Elizabeth Phillips sends me a picture of her office, which is always expensively spotless:

Susan's Office

You know how she got that picture? She has a freaking balcony in there because her office has cathedral ceilings. So I send her a picture of my office, which has no ceiling because I bought a derelict cottage in the wilds of New Jersey and then tried to move from a 4000 square foot house into 900 square feet of charming shanty: Continue reading

RWA 2015 and My Workshops

As part of my ongoing attempts to screw up every aspect of my life, I have managed to stumble on my RWA national stuff, too. Entirely my fault. I’ll only be there one day, and RWA has very graciously, without once saying, “Crusie, you moron,” rescheduled my Metaphor talk for Friday at 11AM. Character and Turning Points is at 3:30 the same day. I mention this only because some of you have said you might do both, and I’m trying to minimize the screw-ups my screw-up will cause. I’ll post PDFs of the handouts and some notes for both of these here on Argh next Friday, too, since I actually have both presentations done. They’re works of genius, of course. Well, they’re educational. I think. Continue reading

Cleaning the Office 1: The Wayback Machine Goes Into the Recycling

So I’m cleaning my office because it’s become a dumping ground, and because I’m combining it with the home office I thought would be such a good idea kept separate (not), and because I need to paint the floor, and because I need to get serious about finishing this book and for that I need a working laser printer. No, there won’t be day-to-day pictures, I did that once before and my office this time it too vile to photograph. This past couple days, I’ve been going through files because really, how much paper do you need stacked around? and I’m finding a lot of stuff from my past. It’s my own Wayback Machine, and some of the stuff I’d forgotten completely, for good reason. Among other things, I found my first feeble attempts at fiction, most of which is now in blue recycling bags, but which showed me a lot about who I was then and how little I knew. (That’s okay, everybody starts someplace.)
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Om

I was just e-mailing with someone about writer mantras, the things we say to ourselves to keep us on track or just to keep us from going crazy. One of my faves is Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s “Protect the work,” which she beat me over the head with until I finally listened (SEP is always right, except about offices). I also like Elmore Leonard’s advice which was not a mantra but should be; the shortened version is “Don’t write the parts people skip.” Mine is “Stay fluid and unpredictable” which is good in all things, not just writing, as is Wil Wheaton’s Wheaton Law: “Don’t be a dick.”

So now I’m looking for a few good mantras. Whaddaya got, Argh People?

The Case for Paper

There are so many kinds of writing software out there now that there’s really no reason for office supplies any more. And yet I don’t know any writer who works solely on her computer. I have friends who actually write the first draft in longhand (that would be Gaffney, for one) which boggles my mind, but even for writers like me who’d never write a story if she didn’t have a keyboard, working with pen and paper at some point feels crucial. My personal crutch is quad paper, those quarter inch squares freeing me from linearity; no matter how much I think I’ve organized things, sooner or later I go looking for the grid to free things up. Continue reading

The Office Day 9: Das Desk

Krissie got here yesterday which is good because I see things through her eyes and think, “Okay, that has to be done.” Also she almost died trying to get from the kitchen to the office yesterday, so really it’s time to go back to work there. I let everything here go to catch up with other things, but almost losing a sister in the debris means it’s time to get back to work. Also I really, really need my office.

The most important part of an office is the work surface. Continue reading

Day 7: Pink Is Not My Color, But It's Evidently the Girls' . . .

I never buy pink anything except for a cheapo pink and white polka-dot collar for Mona which amused me because Mona is the least pink poodle I’ve ever met. Mona should have a black leather collar with studs and a tattoo that says “Born To Kick Deer Ass and Take Delivery Men Names.” Mona may be the smallest of the dogs, but if any of the others cross her, she turns into that poodle from the penguin’s Christmas movie, all teeth and enraged black eyes, and the others back off because you do NOT screw with Mona. Whenever I get to feeling defeated, I think of Mona, taking no crap from anybody, bounding through life with the certainty that God made this patch of grass just for her, and I think, “At least I have kneecaps” and keep on trucking.

Where was I? Oh, right, I don’t do pink. Continue reading

The Office: Day Screw It, I'm Not Counting Any More

Honestly, the plague topped off by a blizzard has pretty much ended any illusion that there was a steady progression here. We are FINALLY recovered, just in time for Krissie to head home on Tuesday (she was supposed to go a week ago but then Trouble Ensued), so I’m back to work, which means I’m unpacking the office while I actually do work, so I’ll keep posting on what I’m doing, but the Twelve Days is laughable now. Continue reading

Day Six: Snowstorm

I’m still aching but the good news is, there’s a blizzard headed my way. And me with an antique furnace and a sick dog, not to mention a friend recovering from a virus (“Come down and stay with me in the cottage, we’ll have fun . . . blearg”), so now that I’m semi-back on my feet, I had to go out and haul salt and firewood and corn muffins and quilting magazines (guests do not live by muffins alone), all of which means the office is once again on the back burner. Continue reading