I believe the temperature outside right now, on this February morning, is hovering around 32º. How do I know? Because the rain outside switches between liquid rain and frozen rain periodically. (Something my older daughter and I have termed, "snizzling," a cross between drizzle and snow.)
No one wants to go outside in that mess. (I could be wrong, there might be some labradors who love this kind of thing.) Seeing it from your bedroom window, you might start wondering how important it really is to go out and run errands today, or if today might be a good time to ask your boss again about the possibility of working from home.
I recently bought some new sheets for our bed that are "plush." Honestly, I hate crawling into bed at night and shivering until my body heat warms the bed up enough to sleep. These new sheets bypass that step, and actually encourage me to jump right into bed at night.
You know the consequence already, don't you? I don't want to leave that cozy haven. My problem is not unusual, as the morning comments on Facebook are often related to the many other folks wishing to be back in their own cozy havens too. Yet, every day we do it. Get out of bed, and then complain about it.
So here I am to save the day! (Cue Mighty Mouse music.) Okay, maybe just your morning. Below are my tips for an easier way to get out of bed in the morning:
Warm blankets are great. But so is sunshine on your face. Here's to a great day, and congratulations for making it out of bed today! Here's hoping tomorrow will be a little easier for you.
I don't think I even heard the end of my child's question. Perhaps I cut her off. I had to explain to her that she wasn't facing reality, and it was time to learn why I do what I do.
First I had to let her understand why her thinking was askew. She knew it was a big deal for me to be published. She didn't know that, for me, it only affirmed that what I wrote had merit.
The authors she had envisioned were the ones she heard about on the news, who were indeed millionaires, J.K. Rowling, Stephan King, etc. How many other authors wrote books in the library who were not the famous people on the news?
Too many to count.
And they are not my co-workers, they are my competition. I tried to explain it this way. My daughter plays soccer. She loves it, but is on the "C-level" team. Chances of her becoming a famous soccer player aren't great. (I don't say that to be mean. By all means, she can work hard and get better.) Even if she were an A-level player, the next step would be beating out all the other girls for a spot on the school team. Then, she would have to beat all the school teammates for a college scholarship. From the college picks, she would have to stand out to a pro scout. (I don't even know if there is a professional level woman's soccer league, but just saying.) And then, she would have to stand out among her teammates there to be recognized by the public as one of the great ones. Many steps to soccer fame.
And I explained that even if she never made it to the next level, she would probably keep on playing soccer because she loved to play.
Then I explained to her how "rich" we could be this year. Due to the percent of royalties I earn, if I sold 200 books (guessing that I could include the second book in this lot) this quarter, after taxes and tithes, I would net about $30.
That was absolutely shocking to all my kids. We know people who are not rich who make that much in an hour. The kids could pick out video games they want that cost more than that.
And they know I have put in wayyyyy more than an hour's worth of work on my books. The next question was obvious.
"So then, Mom? Why are you writing these books?"
The answer was hard to put into words. While I was thinking, my son started for me, "Because she likes it. Duh!"
Yes, that is part of it. It is an awesome feeling to have complete control over the lives of people and even worlds I have created. I like making up characters. I like putting them in trouble and then trying to figure a way out of it. I like having a way to be dramatic. My personal life has no real life-or-death situations, but I face them everyday in my books. My children don't always listen to me, but my characters have no choice.
But if that were the only reason I wrote my books, I would never have started the painful task of trying to find a publisher.
My books have a message. I didn't want to start writing without a purpose, and there is only one purpose I feel is worth sharing - spreading the Gospel. I was a youth group leader in my recent past, and a youth group member in my more distant past. I know that young people listen best to what is interesting. So I asked God to help me find a way to talk to them that was interesting.
I starting writing the Angelmen series because I wanted a new parable. I wanted another way to show kids what God's love could look like. So, I created a new race of people and showed a parallel plight. (OK, I didn't create them. God created them, and they really did exist. But since I believe they were wiped out long ago, it is completely fictional to have such characters today.) And each book brings Truth from the Bible into hands of my readers.
Would I love to see my books turn into movies? Heck yeah! Because it would make me rich? No, for the people it could reach. Would I love to stand up in front of an auditorium full of listening young people? Yes. (I am strangely blessed to not mind talking in front of large groups of people.) Why? So I could tell them the message.
You don't write unless you have something to say. If you do, it is best to just keep it to yourself.
One hundred forty characters. That should be easy, shouldn't it?
When I go on Facebook, I type out my every thought, rarely, but sometimes using a filter. (Friends of mine will notice I have been posting significantly less since my book came out. And now that football season is over, Sunday posts will drop significantly too.)
Facebook is Grandma. You go to Grandma's house and blab your heart out. She gave you a plate of cookies, so you know she is just there to listen to you and fatten you up. She feeds your belly and your need to be heard without being judged. (Because all you have on Facebook are your "friends." If someone does not feed your soul, delete their friendship with one click of the mouse!)
Twitter is the automated customer service option on the phone. "Please select from the following options. For English, please press or say '1'..." We all hate them, don't we? We want to pick up the phone, have a person answer us with no wait and say, "What can I help you with today, sweetheart? Want a cookie?" Then we can open up and cry out the problem we have with our vacuum cleaner. Some companies are aware of this need and require their reps to say something empathetic like, "I can see how it bothers you that your device has blown up. Let me see what I can do to help you." But you know that means they will transfer you. But I digress.
Why is Twitter like that automated phone system? "Please press one..." to me may as well be "You can only say what I decide you can say." or "I can only help you in so many areas." Whereas on Facebook, you can blab away, Twitter says, "You can say whatever you want. As long as it fits *my* criteria." That criteria is about 1.5 sentences. Sure you can tweet several tweets in a row, but if someone else gets in between there, you are all messed up. AND, you have to remember that lines flow linearly in time, so you have to start with your last tweet first, and that means you have to know how many sentences you want altogether, and hope you don't forget one in between, and type fast enough to get them all out.... I am stressed just thinking about it.
Add to that my lovely OCD tendency of only using even numbers. (Don't ask. Just don't ask. Okay, you can ask, if you need to). Facebook does not tell you how much you have written. (Though some of your friends might. See above about un-friending.) Facebook remembers that Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Twitter tells you exactly how many characters you have used. Oh gosh, I have to make it an even number of characters or else I have to rewrite. And do you KNOW how much I like to rewrite? On top of that, Twitter keeps track of how many tweets you have posted, how many followers you have and how many people are following you. I have actually posted things like, "This is just my OCD tweet," and "Please tell your friends to follow me so I can have an even number of followers." Yes, I have deleted people to follow too.
Since it drives me crazy, why do I need it?
Apparently, a lot happens on Twitter. As much as the organization of it drives me nuts, it is also the organization of it that saves me work as well. Mostly, people are not on Twitter to be your friend but to see what interests you share. Twitter is not Grandma, but sometimes you need to go to work and get stuff done. One Twitter, I can talk directly to book people, running people, football people, or Bible people, all while not disturbing the rest of the world.
And when I reach the right people, have even numbers of tweets, followers, and followings, I can sit back and relax. Maybe I'll eat a cookie and tell Grandma about it.
PS - if you want to follow me on Twitter, please do! But only if you get a friend to do it too. ;)
Passion Under Grace,