Friday, January 23, 2015

When does your book come out?

When does my book come out? I'll tell you when: in like a bajillion years. More or less.

"Maybe a little less, Anne. Exaggeration is merely a flight of poetic fancy."

(I'll bet none of you can name that quote without using a search engine. But it's one that plays in my head all the time. My head is a weird place, sometimes. Also, I love Phil Gordon, but that's another story.)

Anyway, yes. My book is coming out in either a bajillion years or in May, whichever one comes first. Today it feels like the former is most likely.

Why is that, you ask?

Because I'm seriously dying to share it with you guys!!! I honestly cannot wait until you can all read it.

And it's killing me because the book looks so done already. The text is all laid out and formatted in InDesign. It still needs to be proofed and edited a few more times, but the cover is done. The advance copies have been ordered. Some super cool people have endorsed it. And I still have to wait FOUR freaking long MONTHS until the release date.

I'm going to die.

In other news, I'm doing a blog tour for my book, so if you blog and would like to get in on that, I've got a review copy with your name on it! Just leave a comment or send me an email or facebook message or something. Okay? Okay. Thanks.

I have to admit, I'm pretty much freaking out about this whole thing. Obviously I've known for awhile now that my book would be published, but for some reason this week marks the beginning of when I started to feel "famous."

So far it has mostly involved a lot of googling myself and the name of my book. Yes, I know I'm lame.

But it's also involved lots of self-reflection on why I'm doing this and what I hope to gain from this experience. Most authors don't make enough money writing to quit their day jobs, which means you have to really love it.

That's part of it. I do love to write. And I really loved writing this book. I'm having a blast with the sequel.

I think, though, that perhaps I'm equally motivated by a desire to prove myself. I've spent most of my life as the background girl. I've seen myself more as a sidekick than a heroine. I tend to surround myself with really cool people and then just bask in their collective limelight. It's weird for me to be the cool one.

And let's face it, I'm not even all that cool. I know that. All I did was write a book.

But I'm just saying, I'm not used to being the center of attention. So that's something I've been trying to come to terms with before I get overwhelmed and decide to run and hide under a rock somewhere.

And when I do start to feel overwhelmed, I run. Literally. Running has been great for me lately. It helps me remember that I'm really, really bad at something. And it's so HARD. I can't think while I'm running because I'm too busy trying not to die.

Okay. I'm rambling.

MAY 12

That's when Liam Darcy, I Loathe You comes out. It's only 108 days away.


I'll never make it that long.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's so great about the DMV?

Folks, it has been a long week. And it's only Wednesday.

On Monday I said goodbye to my parents who had been visiting for the long weekend. I was sad to see them go, especially because while they were here, I'd had an excuse to not face all the boring mundane realities of my daily life. And I'd also had a really good excuse to actually leave work at a reasonable hour.

Since then? Not so much.

Exhibit A: Yesterday I was at work until 8:45 pm. That was thirteen hours. Granted, I took a break and came home for lunch, and part of that time I was actually off the clock, working on my own book, but still. Thirteen hours is a long time to spend in an office.

Exhibit B: Today I worked until 8:00 pm. Twelve hours. Minus the lunch break and another hour of running errands.

Speaking of which . . . I never thought I'd say this, but

Exhibit C: My most peaceful moments of today were spent at the DMV.

That's just wrong. I sound like such a boring grown up. When did that happen? Gross.

But seriously, it was really nice to get out of the office for a little while and wait in line not thinking about anything and knowing that while I was there no one could get to me and all of the emails I was avoiding would still be waiting when I got back.

I think it's quite clear I need to get out more.

Maybe tomorrow after work I'll go on a field trip to celebrate the fact that my car is actually properly licensed and insured and registered again. Go me! I have a serious aversion to paperwork, forms, and the like, so this is a much bigger accomplishment than it might seem.

But anyway, speaking of field trips, last week I went on a good one. I've always loved Hobble Creek Canyon, but nobody told me it would look so amazing when it was covered in snow!!

I think there's a "definish chance" (name that quote!) that I'm actually warming up to this whole winter thing. Maybe snow is cooler than I thought.

Get it? "Warming up"? "Cooler"?

Okay, sorry. I'm done now.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Are you losing weight?

Well, yeah. Kinda. Sorta.

Don't get your hopes up, people!

If there's anything I've learned about weight loss in the myriad times I've tried to lose weight over the past, oh, twenty years, it's this: the minute you get cocky is the exact moment you start to gain it all back.

It starts with something little like, "I was so good today. I went for that long run. I deserve a little treat. I'll just have some popcorn. That's healthy, right?"

Twenty minutes later you're eating handfuls of chocolate chips straight out of the bag or you're at Cafe Rio ordering a full-size salad. And don't let the salad part fool you. There are 990 calories in that thing. That's almost as much as two Big Macs. Gross. (But also oh-so-good!)

That's why when it comes to weight loss my main mantra is: This isn't working. I need to step up my game. 

Half the time that's actually true. And the other half of the time, I get pleasantly surprised when I read the scale in the morning. But I'd rather believe that I'm failing and be surprised to find that I'm not than believe that I'm winning only to find out later that my efforts have gotten me nowhere.

Does that make sense?

That feeling applies to the rest of my life too. It sounds pessimistic, but I think it's more like a combination of humility and acceptance of the fact that I can't do this on my own. I need to rely on my Heavenly Father if I'm going to be successful at anything in life.

Plus also, this whole attitude reminds me of Taylor Swift. (Yes, I know I already posted about her and possibly I'm a little obsessed. Whatever.) She does the same thing. The other day I was watching this Youtube clip of Taylor on The View and one of the not-Whoopi, not-Roseanne women on there basically said to Taylor, "How are you always surprised by how well your albums do? Do you really not know how awesome you are?"

And Taylor was basically like, "I never want to assume that something I do is going to be good because then I'd stop pushing myself to be better. So I try to keep a healthy dose of insecurity going at all times."

For those who are curious, here's the clip:

The part I'm talking about is around the three-minute mark.

That's how I want to be too—as a writer, as a weight-loss-er (I tried weight-loser, but that sounded wrong.), and just as a person in general.

In all aspects of life, I'd rather be pleasantly surprised by any success I might have than assume that I'm going to win at being a human because I'm just that awesome without trying. 

But anyway, back to the original question. Yes. I have lost 25 lbs. since August. It's been a little more slow-going since the holidays hit, but I am not giving up yet. And I'm very happy to be starting the year in a good place. It can only get better from here.

So, yay. Go me! 

But I'm nowhere near reaching my goal yet. Which is why I refuse to dwell on my success. That way lies cockiness. And in cockiness I will meet my doom.

Or something like that.

You know what I mean.

The best part is that I've started running again. I secretly love running. It's such a big secret, that half the time, I don't even remember it myself. But it's true, I do love it. I'm terrible at it, but I don't let that stop me. It's just such a fun mental game. I love watching myself get better.

Lately I've been doing this thing I call The First Mile Club. I warm up a bit and then I try to run an entire mile as fast as I can and beat my time from previous attempts. I won't even tell you guys what my time is because it's that bad. But the point is, it's getting better. And I'm almost, almost, almost to the point where I can keep run/jogging the whole time instead of having to walk for a bit in the middle.

It helps that at the moment I only run on a treadmill at the gym. For some reason I run way better on treadmills than I ever do in real life. I think it's because I don't notice that I'm doing it. But I'm looking forward to continuing this habit outside once it's Spring again.

You might remember that last year in May I did my first 5K. This year I'm thinking I'll make it goal to go the whole way without walking. Or at least not walking much. There's this one part of the race that's like straight uphill. I'll probably have to walk that. 

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you all this is so that I'll hold myself more accountable. I don't think I'll be giving you guys frequent updates on the number of pounds I've lost or the number of minutes and seconds I've shaved off my mile time. The specifics are embarrassing to me. But I do want to admit that I'm trying. This is something I've struggled with forever. And maybe I'll fail again. I don't know. I hope not. I hope I'll keep at it. It might take me ages, but I have faith in my sustained efforts over a long period of time. 

That's how I got my book published, after all—lots of sustained effort over a long period of time. If it worked for that goal, I think I can make it work for this one too.

What about you? What resolutions have you made for this coming year? I know I have a lot I need to change, but right now I'm trying to narrow down my focus to four things:

1. Losing weight.
2. Writing my next book.
3. Finishing the Old Testament.
4. And trying to be more social. I haven't worked out the specifics of this one yet, but I'm open to suggestions.

I've found that fewer goals = more results. So those are the only ones I'm going to try for this year.

To end my pretty pessimistic post, I think I'll leave you with a hopelessly optimistic video. I love this one so much. It reminds me that when God asks me to do something, it's because He knows better than I do what I need in my life at that moment.

There are definitely times when I wonder if moving to Utah was really the right thing for me to do. But I try my best not to look back because as this video reminds me, you can't change the past. All you can do is look forward to the future and hope that God has a plan for you that's better than what you've got going on right now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Where have you been and what have you not been doing?

Mostly at home.

Well, that's not true. Since the last time I blogged, I have traveled several hundred miles to spend Christmas in Palm Desert, California, where the weather was so warm that I could walk around in flip-flops and a t-shirt. Sigh. I miss that.

But all things considered, I think I've adjusted pretty well to my first real winter in three years. It helps that I got a gym membership so I can still go for walks/runs even when it's dark and cold outside and when your icicles are taller than you are.

Honestly, though, other than the gym, that trip to California, and going to work, I've spent a ton of time home alone lately. That's because I've been working on revisions for The Jane Journals. My friend Emma, who is also my editor, gave me lots of great suggestions on how to improve the book and I decided to use pretty much all of them. Altogether I think the book got about 25 percent longer and way cooler. I feel so much better now about the fact that it's getting published.

But because of all that time I spent revising, I've let a lot of things slide. That's one of the hazards of being a writer. Sometimes you just have to live with a sink full of dirty dishes, a blog that never gets updated, and library books that sit unread on your bookshelf. All in the name of drafting or revisions.

Or maybe I just use writing as an excuse not to do my chores. Either way, I have a major confession to make.

There are some things it's okay to let slide for awhile (like dishes) and other things that it's not okay to miss.

And I missed a big thing.

I told my friend and fellow author Kimiko Christensen Hammari that I would be part of her blog tour for her recently-released book. I was flattered she asked, actually. I've never participated in a blog tour before. I had every intention of posting about her book on the day I signed up for. And then . . . I didn't do it.

On the day I was supposed to post, I forgot and went to San Diego instead. I have no excuse. I deserve no forgiveness. I am officially the worst.

But in the interest of preserving some thin thread of my friendship with Kimiko and also in the interest of letting you all know about her super cool book, I think I should now let you all know about her super cool book.

Here it is:

For years, Kimiko and I have been writing Tiny Talks and her FHE book together. Normally we're so crunched for time that we both go nuts, but it's great for me to know that there's at least one other person out there in the world who fully understands what I am going through for those few days or weeks of insanity.

Both of our books are based on the Primary sharing time theme, but Kimiko's specifically focuses on taking the lessons your kids learn on Sunday and reinforcing them in family night on Monday. Her book is so great! It has everything you need for family night—a lesson, scriptures, songs and hymns, activities for older and younger kids, and a challenge that you can commit to for the week ahead.

I am not a mom, but if I were, this would be my weekly go-to. Especially with younger kids, I can see how it would be super draining to try to plan a family night every single week on your own. What I like about Kimiko's book is that you can use it as much or as little as you want. So on weeks that you really want to have a lesson on a specific topic of your own choosing, by all means, do that. But on weeks that you're tempted to skip the lesson and head straight for the snacks, this book can be a great back up.

And I'm not just saying all this because Kimiko is my friend (assuming we're still friends now that I've completely failed her in my blog-tour duties). I'm telling you honestly this is a great book and so helpful.

Plus I haven't even mentioned that it comes with a CD full of things from the book that you can print out for activities—stuff like games and puzzles. So cool! I don't know how Kimiko comes up with all this stuff. She's just that awesome.

(Maybe I can flatter her into being my friend again.)

As always, I hate to imply that you should buy anything. I write enough ad copy at work. I don't like doing it on my blog. But in my honest opinion, Kimiko's book is great. So if it seems like something you might be interested in, you can find it at Seagull and Deseret Book or online at Amazon or and probably some other online places too. I even found on Walmart's site, if you're into that sort of thing.

Caveat: As Cedar Fort's production manager, I should probably also apologize to Kimiko for not being able to keep her book in stock. It sold out quickly and it wasn't until yesterday that we were able to start sending it out to stores again. So I am sorry if you readers went to the store looking for it or ordered it online and weren't able to find it. That's sort of partially on me.

Like I said, I'm the worst.

Just look at me, relaxing at the beach. Totally not blogging or ordering more of Kimiko's book.

And as long as I'm confessing, I might as well just come out and state that I don't actually regret going to the beach that day. But Kimiko's from California and she is also experiencing her first winter in years this season, so I'm just crossing my fingers that she'll understand.