Welcome to my blog! My name is Jeannie Watt and I’m a multi-published romance author. I love writing, sewing, riding my horse, running with my husband and reading with the cat curled up next to me. I can be bribed with single malt Scotch, cheer for the 49ers and enjoy eating my way through San Francisco when I visit the kids.
Everyone’s process is different. When I first started writing, I ate up articles and how-to’s about other author’s processes, thinking that they had the secret. It took me a while to realize that everyone’s secret is different. What works for you may not work for me. Even people with similar processes work differently. That said, I still read all the how-to articles and posts I come across. I enjoy reading about how other writers work.
Even though I generally fire off the first three chapters of my books from the top of my head, at that point I have to stop and plan. The planning part is painful. I think it takes me longer to write a proposal package—three chapters and a synopsis, or worse yet, just a synopsis—than it does to write the book.
Right now I’m in the planning phase for three different books and I want to start writing…but I know from experience that I have to get that plan down on paper–even if I don’t follow it later. But on a positive note, I wrote the three chapters of the my next Superromance two months ahead of deadline and that book is planned, so as I wait for the revision notes on my previous book, I do have some free time. To plan.
Meanwhile, it’s raining in my part of Nevada. We’ve had a hotter than usual September, so this is a nice change. I went running in the rain because a friend called and asked me to run the Susan B. Komen 5K with her. I said yes, even though I haven’t run since May. Hey–I have fourteen days to get in shape and I don’t think it’s going to hurt any more than planning a book.
I made deadline. Life is good. I also started a new school year. This was the smoothest start I’ve had in a long, long time. Like ever.
I taught for over twenty years at the same junior high school. The staff was wonderful and the kids were of an age I do well with, but despite that, the start of the school year was always rough. Why? Because I live in a desert, the school had no air conditioning, and classes started in August.
Put twenty-five to thirty kids in a room at any time of year and the temperature rises at least five degrees. But them in a room in August and I swear it makes the temperature rise at least ten degrees.
I kept track of the temperature during the first thirty days of school one year and it averaged 88 degrees Fahrenheit. You can imagine how much learning goes on when the kids are melting into puddles on the floor. But at least they were too wonked by the heat to do any junior high stuff right off the bat. No, they saved that for later in the year.
Last year I transferred to a rural high school to finish out my career. They needed a science teacher, and I happened to be one. They also needed a math teacher, which my husband is. We transferred together and thus began my roughest first-of-the-year ever.
Instead of teaching a couple subjects I knew well, I was teaching two I knew well, and four I’d never taught before. And then there was the issue of trust. The entire high school staff, with the exception of two teachers, was brand new. In essence, we’d invaded this small school in this small community and we needed to build trust.
There were a lot of challenges those first days, but…the school had a cooling system! For the first time ever, I taught in August without sweat trickling between my shoulder blades. It made life better.
Less than a month in, I knew I’d made the right choice transferring. The students relaxed, the staff became cohesive, and although there were still challenges due to the school’s unique situation, I’d walk out of the building feeling like I was doing some good.
As I mentioned earlier, this year I had the smoothest start ever–even having a book due at the beginning of the second week of school didn’t cause that much undue stress. For the first time ever, I didn’t have to get to know the students and they didn’t have to get to know me, because I’ve had them all before. Bonds have already been made, trust established. (I do miss my seniors from last year, but watching kids leave is part of the game.) And then there’s the cooling system…did I mention that I’m teaching and the temperature in my room is somewhere in the seventy-degree range?
My book is due on Tuesday–three days away. I’m sweating bullets trying to pull it all together, so of course I feel a deep urge to post a blog. And so…
THINGS I WILL DO ONCE THE BOOK IS TURNED IN:
1) Eat better? Right now I’m living on things I can grab fast…like packs of circus animal cookies, my go-to portable comfort food.
2) Sew. I need to make something STAT–hopefully something that turns out well. I’m going to start working on a wedding dress mock-up just as soon as the book is done.
3) Run. Eating all those circus animal cookies catches up with you eventually.
4) Fold my laundry. I never realize just how many clothes I have until they are all stacked on and around the dryer, waiting for that illusive “free moment” when I can fold them and put them where they belong. Right now it’s a vicious cycle from top of the dryer onto my body and back into the hamper.
5) Watch the 49ers. First game coming up soon!
6) Go to Macy’s. I need to shop.
7) Start a new book, of course. The best book is always the next one in line.
I can’t believe school starts tomorrow. Summer wasn’t here long enough. Does anyone agree?
Here’s what happened with me during the nanosecond that was summer:
I wrote most of a book. I was supposed to write an entire book, but I struggled with my inner editor. It’s not due until September 2, so I’ve yet to hit the terror point. It’s coming, though. I think it may arrive tomorrow.
I went to the Romance Writers of America National Conference with my daughter in San Antonio, TX. I ask you, how fair is it to have a Macy’s store attached to the conference hotel and a daughter with a Macy’s card? That cost me a bundle.
My husband got a horse. Within a day of arrival, said horse went lame. The lameness has to do with a serious foot fungus, so for almost a month we treated him daily with medication in a special boot, and twice a week soaked his foot in a bleach solution. He took it like a man–okay, maybe not like a man, since the men I know tend to play up injuries (not a lot, but a little) and enjoy getting taken care of. He took it like a horse. He’s getting better.
Through a merry mix-up, Flora, the female kitten I got in May, turned out to be Floydie. I’m good with that, but it was a surprise. He’s getting big. Six months old and 9.5 pounds. Another big eater in the family.
My husband got another horse. This is Hopi. So far, so good–all his legs seem to work.
We adopted an Australian Shepherd. She took to ranch life instantly. Nothing she loves better than riding around in an old Chevy truck, moving hay, and then going on a daily lizard hunt.
I completely ignored my sewing blog, but I did manage to build my author website. Now I know why people charge a lot of money to do this. Linking 17 books to all the various sites I had to link them to took forever. Then there was the Photoshop learning curve…I’m going to be so happy to sit down in front of my sewing machine where I understand what’s going on and nothing disappears with a slip of the mouse. “What? Where did that go?” will no longer be a daily utterance. “Rats, I didn’t mean to do that,” will take its place.
New blog! This is my writing blog. I’m having so much fun with my sewing blog, that I decided to dedicate it solely to sewing and start this new blog devoted to writing—and other aspects of my life.
My first thought was to name this new blog Procrastination Alley, because when I get stuck in a book, I look for other things to do. A lot of times I sew or blog. Technically that’s procrastination, right? But after making the banner and seeing the words “Procrastination Alley” proudly displayed at the top of my new blog, I decided that having a blog devoted to procrastination might cast me in a bad light. I mean, a lot of people tend view procrastination as a bad thing. Well, it is if it makes you miss deadlines, however, I’m a productive procrastinator. I once heard that if you have to procrastinate, procrastinate with something important. I try to do that. The things I choose to procrastinate with may not be important to the world at large, but they are important to me. I rarely kick back and watch mindless television. Nope. I’m more of start to sew a renaissance dress type of procrastinator.
As you can see, though, I ditched Procrastination Alley and renamed my blog. I think the new title sums up my writing process pretty well. I like quiet when I write and I’m often beating my head on the keyboard thinking that if I can’t come up with a way out of this corner I’ve written myself into that I’m going to be in trouble. That’s where the “kind of” part comes in. Eventually things become clear to me and I forge on, wondering why I ever thought I had a problem.
And such is life.
I hope you’ll continue to join me here at the blog. My goal is to post twice a week. I’ve written it down, because we all know that if one writes a goal there’s a 76.9857% greater chance that the goal will be achieved.
Until next time–Jeannie