Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crap-a-Doodle Ding Dong Dang

I'm sorry I had to go there with that language, but normal words fail me right now.

I've been sitting here for about 3 hours working on the book proposal for She Speaks, the book proposal that I have grown to hate and have thus scratched. Oh yes I did.

Procrastination is not my modus operandi. Ever. But I have had the worst time staying on task with this. As a result, I have a lot more empathy for kids avoiding homework. Before, I never quite understood why they just didn't get to it and get it over with if they disliked it so much. But now I see it's kind of like jumping off a diving board when you're not a good swimmer. Dicey. And not so fun.

So I let it go and picked up another topic, which I'll get to in a minute.

Now I have a modicum of peace, at least mentally, but not physically.

However, I've been trying to cut back on the calories since Gatlinburg, eating veggies and fruits, with the occasional bowl of cereal. Let me tell you, because of the frustration, I've almost eaten my weight tonight in fruit. And it's crazed, WWF binge eating, where I'm grabbing strawberries by their little green collars, gulping most of the berry and then slamming the remains back into the bowl.

Hey, here's a thought: When you eat a lot of fruit, your tummy hurts, and you make a lot of ... noise. Noise which scares little dogs who sit behind you on your chair when you blog, who react to those noises by perking up their little ears, shaking off the assault and then running away. (Yes, College Daughter who reads my blog to spy on me, I just wrote about that. I know, I know; Boomama and Big Mama would never write about such indelicacies. But I'll be sitting at the feet of the masters soon, so maybe Southern decency will rub off on me.)

So #1: I hate my topic #2: I am noisy and traumatizing my dog #3: I'm distracted by every little thing possible, including the spider web on the wall above my monitor. It's like I'm trying to focus and type, and this little poof keeps waving at me, teasing me. If I didn't work, I wouldn't have spider webs on my wall, and I would have more time to write, just so you know.

Anyway--Old topic: Preparing Yourself for Your Changing Relationship With Your Child Before He Leaves for College ( College students don't need helicopter parents, and you need a life apart from mothering, basically, but it's really hard when kids leave home, and nobody tells moms much about this.)

New Topic: Building a book from my newspaper columns OR humorous posts from my blog. It feels dumb to say it, but most people seem to appreciate my humorous writing more than my apparently boring regular writing.

Problem: Experts say that a book of collections, devotionals or newspaper columns or what-have-you, needs to have a common thread, a theme. Well, I don't have that. I have oodles of randomness. And personally, I don't care so much for a humor book that is only about, say, one's humorous office experiences or one's hilarious marriage. I like a person's take on the world, from family to politics to anything else. But what do I know?

So it's almost 10:30 pm, and I have achieved nothing after hours of sitting here.

Argh! Help. Me.

Do you have any suggestions about the topic, as in how to approach it, etc? Do you think I should choose devotional writing or humorous writing? Do you think it was right for me to switch topics if I feel less pressure now? Because it feels like such a relief ... if you know what I mean. Let me know what you think.

31 comments:

Teri said...

Linda, I actually enjoy the serious writing! I mean, I love the humor...but the serious shows your depth. Don't be swayed by comments...they do drop off when there is seroiusness...maybe people don't know what to say.

Alright, I do not feel an ounce qualified to give you advise on what you should be writing about...but here is what I can do...pray for you.

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating Linda in your image. I thank you for the creativity that pours from this woman. Her words were meant to touch people, thank you for giving her the place to express herself through the written word. Father I pray that you would make this book proposal very clear to Linda. Help her to focus on you, your voice and your plan. Father, I pray that she would not be concerned about impressing people, but that with her gift, she would truly want to please you. Father, take the pressure off of her and release the flow of words for her. Help her mind come into submission to the Holy Spirit. Keep her focused and let the ideas come. Keep her in your mighty grip as she glorifies you with the joy that comes as she does what she loves to do. Carry her. In Jesus name. Amen.

Listen girl, stop thinking so much and just write. You own this thing girl, you can do it!

Big Mama said...

I think if it feels like a relief then you're probably on the right track.

And I can think of a lot of humor type books that don't necessarily have a common theme. Maybe you could just title it "Life is Funny".

sara said...

I like both of your writings! However, having just come off sending a kid to college and adjusting to them back in the home, I could have used more advice and info (hence my posting to you during it all!). I really don't think moms are prepared for the changes. That being said, it could still be written in a humorous book...we need to find humor in the changes!

That is probably no help, it really comes down to what God is leading you to, but whatever that is, I know it will be good!!

Susanne said...

Linda I know this doesn't help but I love both your writings. Go with your gut. Praying the Lord gives you his wisdom.

And the fruit? Well, I'm sure if you dip each strawberry in sour cream first and then brown sugar it will help with your malady? Use low fat sour cream and your "lose Gatlinburg lbs" agenda will be met. Plus you'll be getting calcium. :v)

Jen said...

Ditto to Teri, above.

Also, just for fun, let me say this. I think you're overthinking this. Why does it have to be anything?

You have an editor for the book, so why not just put it into the kind of topics you use for your blog? Or let each article's title be the title of the "chapter."

You're going to be humorous no matter what your genre, so if you want it devotional, aim for devotional.

This is like dreading something. The dreading and fear of it is always worse than the actual thing. You and writing are like me and my house -- I dread the painting of a room until I finally make myself do it. Then I realise why I do it: I love doing it.

JUST DO IT. You are great at this! This is your passion! It will flow like it should. God will bless it.

So I don't know if this helps, but I hope it does. And I echo Teri's prayer above. Just keep "over and above all we could ever ask or imagine" in the front of your brain.

xox

Chatty Kelly said...

Relief can be the holy spirit nudging. So listen closely.

Could you do funny devotions? Seriously! Light, but inspirational. Go for it!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I have no advice, but I know writing is almost always akin to birthing a child. It's tough, exhausting and by the time you're done with the book, your sick to death of your topic and can't imagine why anyone would want to read this garbage.

No matter what you decide, remember you are doing this to use the gifts God gave you. (In abundance, I might add.) He didn't give them to you only to abandon you now.

Robin said...

I love both styles of your writing too.
Maybe a theme could be something like:
Lessons Learned from a 3 Pound Yorkie.
Zoe could be the star!

Mocha with Linda said...

Sweet Lidna,
I feel your angst. I can imagine that you feel like this is your Big Chance and you have to Get It Right.
But God is not intimidated by deadlines and formats.
I love your blog-writing and the samples you've given us of your columns. I haven't read you long enough to know what your whole collection is. But some of the most effective have been when I'm cracking up. . . and then you zing in with a spiritual app.
The life and times of a woman seeking God in the craziness of life seems like a great theme for a book of your blog posts & columns. And there might even be a chapter about parenting a child in college!
Love ya, friend!

Beverly Lewis said...

I am no expert, though I long to be. I am with those that say relief is a sign you are headed in the right direction. I think funny AND serious is you. Be yourself and we are all buying.

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

I say go for the randomness. You can put humor and seriousness together into one book full of random "posts." The theme could be Linda's Take on Life, or something like that.

crickl said...

I think devotional writers usually write about a story from their life to illustrate a spiritual point right?

You could put together a very uplifting, joyful, funny book of devotions from your funny stories. God does give you those! It could be a kind of Erma Bombeck sort of devo. Start the day with joy or something could be the title.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

"Who" says that a devotional or collection has to be on the same topic. I mean not everyone is married so singles won't buy it. Not everyone is a parent so non-parents won't buy it.

I think that a collection of randonness if great. Just come up with a clever title that indicates is a collection of random thoughts/subjects/writings.

That way everyone can relate to it.

Again, I'm not sure why the "experts" say it has to have a theme. The theme would be random thoughts. HA!

What is a book proposal for She Speaks? I'm lost on that. I really want to be educated on this She Speaks thing in case it is possibly something I would be led to do next year. If you have time, reply back to my comment via email.

Paula

Cyndy said...

Linda,
Did you ever see the episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry and George go make a TV show proposal in which the theme of the show is...nothing. As in the show is about nothing. Kind of like Seinfeld.

Anyway, pshaw with what the experts say about themes...(of course, I'm not the one trying to write a book proposal) maybe the theme is the variety of life and randomness.

I'm praying for you, praying that the Lord would show you which way to go.

Cyndy said...

...I just want to amen Teri's prayer.

Cindy Swanson said...

Oh, sheesh...I can see I'm going to be no help at all! My initial, gut response was "go for the humor," and then all these other commenters said "be serious..."

Well, you know what? I think you should write the thing you ENJOY writing about! If you're not enjoying writing it, chances are no one's going to enjoy reading it.

If a publicist called me up and said, "Would you be interested in doing an interview about adjusting to your kids being away from college?" I would probably yawn. But if she said, "Would you be interested in doing an interview with this hilarious woman who writes about real life situations from a Christian perspective?" YES, I'd be interested.

I could see a 2nd Cup of Coffee book that takes the real-life situations like your kids going to college or your daughter getting a complicated haircut and then putting her hair in a ponytail again, makes us laugh, and then perhaps makes a spiritual application. You have a real gift...don't submerge your funniness. You have wisdom too, and a genuine walk with Christ, and you can give us both the wisdom and the humor.

And when the book gets published, give me a call...I'll want to be the first to interview you!

MoodyBlue said...

I think all of your writing is great! I do have to admit I love your humorous writing.

Speaking of which...how you said your dog's ears perk up...does your dog making sniffing motions (smelling the air) like my cat does?? LOL!

PJ said...

I enjoy your serious writing, but when I read your humor, I'm uplifted. I'm encouraged to take my world a bit less seriously. So I'd say go with the humor.

1 . BUT...you could do a humorous rendition of how to let go and not become a helicopter parent!!

2. You could do a collection of humor that is simply a different look at life. Something like How not to take yourself so seriously or some such title. (Editors change titles anyway!) Maybe Life with Lidna! OR the view from my shadow...or the viewpoint of the little dog.

Just some thoughts. (I soooooo wanted to go to She Speaks! But my niece is getting married the 21st of June -- I wasn't consulted on the date...and I just have to go...I'm performing the ceremony!)

annie's eyes said...

Think Erma, Linda. You have the rare gift of interspersing humor when it is most needed in serious topics, in painting pictures, and it intertwining them all at the end with a nice neat bow. One minute you have tears, the next a laugh, and in the end, a renewed feeling of hope. You write like that, always remembering your audience is a tired woman on the other end who needs a little encouragement and often the unexpected pleasure of a smile. I'm saying prayers as you wrap up this for now, and for your peace tomorrow. Love, Annette

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I'd read anything you wrote. :)

Relief, I agree, can be akin to peace from the Holy Spirit! Rest in the knowledge that nothing HAS to be done; that He will bless whatever you DO choose to do.

I vote for the compilation first and then the other book in say, about 5 years when I am REALLY going to need it. :)

Work with Scott... he'd come up with some theme for you. ;)

Linda Vujnov said...

I would talk to people (editors etc.) at She Speaks about your ideas before you actually come up with a "hard copy" proposal. See which ideas generate interest, then you can create a proposal based on those ideas to send after the conference.

Obviously, I [heart] humor!

Jerri Phillips said...

I'm going to quote this other book I know.

God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.--From somewhere in the Psalms

Do you have peace? Then run with it. Maybe the other idea is for another time. Maybe it is something for you to contribute to and make a collaboration with other moms. Maybe it is a phase. Who knows?

What I know is you hear God. If you are not stressed, I'm thinking you are hearing and what I think or anything else does not remotely matter. God will do God's will. Statistics, trend analysis, and all that means squat. You're job is to ask, "What?" Then you do the what and God handles the rest.

Personally, I love all your writing. However, it could be that this book isn't for me. It could be that this book is for someone who needs to know Christians can have fun. God has an audience. He'll work out the connection if you just walk where He wants.

Peace He gives, not the peace of the world, but don't stress. He has overcome the world!

Kelley said...

Personally I love the title "OOdles of Randomness". Isn't humor a theme in itself? Oh well, who am I to talk, I haven't finished my homework either (a 3 minute "about me" presentation and 5 minute bible teaching). Don't let it stress you too much Linda, relax and trust that God will introduce you to the right people who give you the right advice. You are very talented, with a HUGE heart and I am looking forward to getting to know you better!!

Praying for all of us,
Kelley

Marina said...

I enjoy your devotionals however when I have a hard day and come to your blog you always make me laugh and some how life seems easier ,I fine you humor healing and the world is so up tight all the time we need to let go and laugh a little more not everyone can put houmor you have a great sense of style that is yours God has bless you with that. You do Big heart you can make readers cry and laugh you have alot of wisdom . I will pray for you tonight I don't know if any of these has help you ,but you have a lot of fans that love you.marina

Jerri Phillips said...

Oh, I also meant to mention the books my husband and I have on the bedside tables, the stuff we read when we want to feel good but don't have huge amounts of time. Robert Fulghum has been one of my favorite authors for years, and there is no theme to his book. He simply shares what it on his mind, some is just good for the heart because it makes you laugh. Some is good for the heart because it makes you think. It's nice to ramble around with him and see what comes about. I would read yours for the same reason. Plus, you and I have far closer beliefs, so you are already better, and he's sold millions of books.

Debbie said...

You've gotten lots of good advice. The only thought I have to add is that many people can write "serious" but very few people do humor well - and you do!
I love the idea of a humorous devotional - a light start to the day.

Continuing to pray.....

Melanie said...

Just do what it is that is YOU because no one else can do that.

Erma was Erma.

Dave is Dave.

Those are their common threads.

Carol said...

Girl, I'm feeling your pain. As we speak I should be writing another 1,000 words or so. But here I am, reading yours instead. I have no suggestions on your topic, sorry. I do like all of your writing style. I a bit back and forth myself between humorous and serious. I've got to get this proposal done, but all I want to do is lay on the couch with a good piece of cheesecake. sigh... what's a girl to do?

Darlene R. said...

Dear Linda,

Ummm......yeah, I got nothin'.

Sincerely,
Darlene :)

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I LOVE the kids-leaving thing and from what I have heard, it is much needed. However, I am wondering if maybe you would be better at it in a few years, when you have some perspective and more experience in you?

Maybe just table it for now, but keep some notes, because later, you *are* going to write that book.

So, here's your new helicopter deadline: 2022. Why 2022? Cause that's when Shep graduates from high school and I'm gonna need it.

Mr. Y. said...

Linda, you should be thankful that your distractablity is a rare feeling. I feel that this is my way of life sometimes. It was funny and refreshing to hear if verbalized by someone else. I've read a couple of your other blogs, but this is my first response (Sorry :(
God's Grace to you