"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, January 12, 2009

On Power Tools, Projects, and Revising

Saturday we had a record-breaking crowd of over 90 people attend our monthly SCBWI meeting. Over 90 people!!!
So who'd they come to see? The fab Jenny Ziegler. Sure she has two awesome novels out now (Alpha Dog and How Not to be Popular), but did you have any idea she also wrote many many books for Mass Market YA Series including Alias: Recruited (Bantam, 2002) A New York Times Best Seller for Children?


Jenny was fantastic and totally wowed the crowd. Here she is in all her speaking glory! Her funniest line:
"I've been Francine Pascal more times than I've been myself."
Hilarious.

I was thrilled to see the local authors section at BookPeople. Notice that pretty cover in the middle on the left? Yep, that's The Emerald Tablet by none other than me. Thanks, BookPeople!


So aside from revising like a lunatic and going to SCBWI on Saturday, I finished painting the kitchen red and worked on my son's Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car.

I won't post a picture of the car until it's painted, but let's just say the three hours spent yesterday with every power tool I own paid off big time. There was the jigsaw, the drill, the router, the sander, and the wizard. OK, so not every tool, but still.
The husband and I figured out how to use our Router (used for the first time), which we got 11 years ago as a wedding present. I felt that really bonded us while figuring out how to get the router bit in it. But I have to add - a router is as awesome power tool. Way cool. I am already envisioning signs I will make to hang above the kid's doorways.


One might ask if I'm so deep in revisions, why would I bother to take the time to paint the kitchen and spend hours on a derby car? Which is a valid question.
I could go with the answer I gave my husband when he asked about the kitchen.
I took down the tapestry and needed to patch the holes but I didn't have any extra touch-up paint and Home Depot doesn't make that color anymore so I'd have to get it matched so I went with something new.
Which for the record is true.
But actually getting away from the computer is a blessing. Focusing full force on something else—especially labor intensive—gives me time to think. I can work out problems in my mind, think of ways to rework issues, all that good stuff.
Because even when I'm away from the revisions, I'm still always working on the revisions.
So here's a thought for a Monday...
Start a project (non-writing related) around the house.

So how's everyone reading for the year coming along? I'm still on Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris but only because I've been so engrossed in my own revisions, I haven't spent much time reading. But still I'm working on being consistent.

So I'm trying to decide...for the next read-aloud to my kids should I read The Hobbit or From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler?

31 comments:

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love the color you chose -- I'm a bright color person myself. And the artwork is fabulous!! You have some artists in your family!

I know what you mean about working things out in your head. I spend at least an equal amount of time thinking as I do the actual writing. That subconscious is always busy...

Keri Mikulski said...

Nice kitchen! :)

And I just ordered HOW NOT TO BE POPULAR.. Sounds like a great meeting. Thanks for sharing.

Christine M said...

Want to come paint my kitchen?

Sounds like a productive weekend! Good for you!

Angela said...

Oh how I wish we had a group here...

And great color! I've heard red is supposed to stimulate the appetite.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Sherrie! My husband keeps saying it is orange. But it's bright and happy. And thanks on the artwork. Those are both from my son!

Thanks, Keri! And you will love HNTBP! It's hilarious!

Yes, Chris! How about on Feb 3rd? I have plans earlier in the evening, but then we could paint :)

You could move here, Angela! And what!!!! Stimulate the appetite!!!!! Good thing MY chair points away from the wall. :)

Thanks for visiting!

lotusgirl said...

Sometimes we do just have to get away from the computer and DO something physical. It helps me clear my head and see the big picture.

I'd read: From the Mixed-up Files. If they haven't read that yet. It's classic and better read younger. The Hobbit will wait.

PJ Hoover said...

Kind of exactly what I was thinking, Lois. Plus I really want to re-read The Mixed-up Files. It's a good opportunity!

adrienne said...

That's quite a local authors section...very cool.
I love the red - my living room is almost the same shade :)

PJ Hoover said...

Is it really almost the same color, Adrienne? Because if so, I take that as huge encouragement since you are WAY gifted artistically!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Dang, now I have no excuse not to catch up on the laundry! :-)

All right. Off the computer I go to do real work in the real world...

PJ Hoover said...

Laundry is an entirely different story, Miriam. It just keeps coming. And from one Trekkie to another, Resistance is futile.
(BTW, watched the first ST:TNG with Lore last night. My son loved it.)

Vivian said...

Oh! I LOVE the color of your kitchen! And the artwork is fantastic!

I saw kitchen cabinets similar to this color in a magazine and was thinking of painting my cabinets red. Though the wall may be better...

And yay! for your book!

beth said...

Not the Hobbit! Children should only be force-fed mountain wanderings in snow on a limited basis :)

Beth Kephart said...

I LOVE the red. It's brave and very gorgeous.

Read Mixed-up. Definitely.

lynn said...

haha does laundry count as a project? I totally agree that getting away from writing is crucial for letting the subconscious draw connections and work out problems.

I'd vote for The Hobbit because it was one of my all-time fav books as a kid (and still ranks pretty highly!), but I've never read the Mixed-Up Files. Hooray for decisions that have no wrong answer!

btw I must admit to having watched a ton of ST back in the day. I need to re-watch TNG!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks Vivian! I think I'm going to paint the cabinets soon. First I need to take the tile backsplash off. I figure the kitchen will keep me busy for a while :)

Funny, Beth! I forgot our mountain discussion. Maybe I should remove my mountain scene before you read my WIP! :)

I'm hoping the red will wear off on me, Beth. Brave and Gorgeous. Two words I wouldn't mind describing me!

So well put, Lynn. There is no wrong answer! As for ST, I would have expected nothing less from you! (which you should most definitely take as a compliment).

Thanks for visiting!

Jason said...

I really like the red. That's actually pretty cool looking.

As for which book to read, I vote The Hobbit, but that's because it was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I haven't read the other one.

Jim Danielson said...

Pinewood derby: It's all about the wheels. Good alignment is essential.

Pinewood derby tidbit #2: Parents tend to get crazy-competitive. BEWARE!!

Marcia said...

What a neat color! I love when people have the courage to use bright or unusual colors in their rooms.

Another vote for The Mixed-Up Files.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Jason! I loved the Hobbit growing up! Reading it was really like magic.

Jim, I've turned into that parent. Last year I was totally unprepared.
OK, I need help with my wheels. How do I make them faster? Can I slick some powdered silicon on those babies? How do I align them and then keep the nails from shifting?
Wait until you see my design :)

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Marcia! And the Mixed-up files votes are coming in, aren't they!

Stacy Nyikos said...

I resort to yard work when I get stuck writing. Or, in the winter, despised household chores. I can't say I "enjoy" ironing all that much, but you're so right. There's something about getting the body working that takes the pressure off of the brain and lets my thoughts flow again.

PJ Hoover said...

Yard work works great for me, too, Stacy! But ironing...NEVER!

Gottawrite Girl said...

Seriously great SCBWI event, as always. I love hearing about the events as attended by others, b/c it's hard to afford them often AND it's infrequent that they're local... always, thanks PJ!!!

Elaine Cantrell said...

It really made me smile when you talked about the Pinewood Derby. We still have two cars carefully packed away from when my kids were in Scouts. One's a little faster than the other, but both of them were winners.

PJ Hoover said...

It was awesome, Susan! We have such a wonderful chapter here I feel so fortunate!

Thanks for visiting Elaine! I love the Derby Car thing. This year we're going for a design my son will love to keep in his room for years and years to come. I'm pretty sure it won't be the fastest, but he says he's OK with that. As long as it crosses the finish line, right?

Have a great day!

Carrie Harris said...

I love the kitchen, and I absolutely vote for The Hobbit. That book is perfect for a read-aloud!

Kelly H-Y said...

The red walls look gorgeous! You sound quite handy with the power tools - impressive!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Carrie! And I so agree about The Hobbit and reading aloud!

Thanks, Kelly! yes, I do enjoy working with power tools. It makes me feel so competent.

Thanks for visiting!

Nora MacFarlane said...

How fun to be the mystery reader! I bet your son loved that.

Good luck in revision land!

PJ Hoover said...

He did love it, Nora, and his classmates were all thrilled, too. It was beyond cute!
Thanks for visiting!