So I’m going casual with my post today, like Casual Friday. I’ve seen other bloggers do this, and it’s always fun to read what’s going on behind the scenes. So I thought I’d give you a little snapshot of what’s up around here.
I cut 5,000 words from my memoir manuscript over the last week or so and turned it in to my editor at WaterBrook Multnomah (still waiting for the day when I don’t have to look up the spelling of my own publisher) on Wednesday. I hadn’t looked at the book in nearly two years, so I was wigged at the thought of returning to it after such a long hiatus. Plus, I wondered how in the world I would cut 5,000 words. Turns out, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. You know how experts always advise you to sleep on a problem or walk away from a piece of writing for a while to let it rest? Well, I’m not sure I’d recommend two years of resting, but in this case, such distance made it much easier for me to see the sections that could be cut. I was also terrified I’d open the manuscript and fall off my chair in horror and humiliation. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I’m not saying it can’t be improved, but I was relieved to find that it doesn’t stink to the high heavens.
I’m also chipping away at the 50 Christian women – 3 more to go. No one will be happier when I finish this project than my husband, who has listened to me say, “I’m not going to make it” at least thrice weekly for the last eight months. I’ve now changed my tune to, “I might make it, but probably not.” This project has humbled me, not only because of the sheer workload, but also because every single one of these women has an incredible story. Every time I finish writing about a woman I say the same thing: “This one is my absolute favorite!” So I basically now have 50 favorite Christian women.
Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been reading lately. I typically have several books going at once. So this week I’m studying up on Mary McLeod Bethune, Fannie Lou Hamer and Catherine McAuley for the 50 Women project.
I’m also on a Brene Brown rampage. I realize I’m 8,000,000 views behind the times (literally), but have you seen her TED Talk? I am fired up over this woman. So I’m reading Daring Greatly and I plan to move on to The Gifts of Imperfection next.
I’m also reading Susan DiMickele’s new book Working Women of the Bible (review and giveaway coming soon), Justin Lee’s Torn, Denise Hughes’ e-book On Becoming a Writer (because you never feel like you’re actually *there*, right?). And just to mix it up a little more, my friend Sarah and I are reading and discussing Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World by John Shelby Spong.
Exercise and Whatnot
I’ve recently committed to running 3 or 4 miles every weekday morning (unless I have a morning appointment). This is good. I’m not giving myself the choice not to run. I drop the kids off at school and then immediately hit either the treadmill or the running trail. I know now that if I sit at my computer for “just a minute to check email,” I’m history. You’ll find me there five hours later, still in my work-out clothes.
When I finish my run I shower up and then eat the same exact snack at the same exact time (10:20 a.m.) every day — a handful of salted almonds and an Activia yogurt, preferably peach — and then I write from 10:30ish to 3ish. I even use the same bowl for my nuts – pottery handmade by my mother-in-law, because the bowl reminds me of her, and that makes me happy. I recently told a couple we had over for dinner that I eat the same exact snack at the same exact time five mornings a week. The husband looked like he wanted to bolt out the back door. Maybe I’m weird?
We’ve been doing massive amounts of yardwork around here, which always reminds me that I have the upper-body strength of a jellyfish. I also planted pansies, which I can see from my writing desk, and that makes me happy even though it’s been raining for three days and is about 31 degrees outside. By the way, the massive dirt circle in the background is not the site of a meteor impact. The kids’ pool decimated the grass last year. It grieves me to know our yard is the neighborhood eyesore.
I’m getting ready to speak at another retreat this weekend, so I’ve been practicing my talks over and over again, pacing and reciting out loud in the living room like a lunatic. I read recently that expert speakers practice their presentations approximately 30 hours. This gives me hives because I don’t have 30 hours to practice. After my last talk I went to Walgreens and bought ” Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response” antiperspirant. I’m not fooling around, people.
That’s what’s happening here. What’s up with you? What are you reading? Writing? Seeing? Listening to?