Four hundred and ninety-nine

It’s almost five hundred days since I started this project.  Well, that’s not counting the couple of months of prep time I needed before Day One.  It’s definitely been quite the ride!  The past week has been one of reflection and creativity.  And when the creative juices flow freely, I tend to neglect everything else and focus on my writing.  All you writers or painters or any other kind of artistic people understand.  My friends tend to make fun of me during these times – in a loving manner, of course.  “You’re always writing” said in a whiny voice, or “there’s no point inviting Lindsay to anything right now, she’s in her own world.”  They laugh about it, but they understand.  Besides it makes me a better person to be around when I’ve purged myself onto the page and they know this.  Although for a bit they have to deal with me walking around in a daze.

I love these times because I get tons of work done and I feel great about myself.  There no feeling quite like accomplishment.  I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when I finish the book.  I already have some ideas for the next one, so I guess I’ll just throw myself into the next project.

Online dating – a revelation

With reflection and writing comes me talking a lot about the topics on my mind (when I’m not sequestering myself in my apartment, of course).  Often other people who first find out about the project are most curious about my dating month, where I went on 32 dates in 31 days for those of you who haven’t been following along the whole time.  I set out to discover why dating was so hard in the city, examining online dating, set-ups, speed dating, etc., and finished the month completely exhausted.  This bring me to the conversation I had with a woman customer at the pub a couple of days ago.  She just finished writing a book about dating, written in Japanese.  This became a rousing discussion amongst the five people at the table and I about online dating.  Which finally brings me to a huge topic about online dating that I never discovered during my month on dating: you can be rejected from some online dating sites before you even start!  I had no idea.

Two of the men at the table had been rejected from eHarmony, both of which seem like lovely men, and one of which I have known for at least a year coming into the pub.  I did some research and apparently as many at 20% of the applicants are rejected.  “Unable to match you at this time” is the response those “rejects” get after filling out eHarmony’s complex questionnaire.  From what I could find, these are the reasons you can be rejected:

  • You are married
  • You are below 21
  • You are under 60 and have been married more than four times
  • You are gay or lesbian (they have a separate site called Compatible Partners for gay and lesbian matches)
  • You answered the questions in what eHarmony thinks is inconsistent
  • You answered the questions in a way that suggests you are depressed
  • You scored low on the following traits:
    • Self-Concept (how you perceive yourself)
    • Emotional Status (feeling happy, fulfilled and hopeful)
    • Character (honesty and trustworthiness)
    • Obstreperousness (refers to a person’s tendency to find fault, to attribute blame to someone else, to make other persons wrong, and to portray them self as always right. The obstreperous person is someone who has a consistently critical attitude. The more pessimistic a person is, the more likely they are to be obstreperous.)
    • Character (honesty and trustworthiness)
    • Emotion Management: Anger (expressing negative emotions constructively)
    • Conflict Resolution (resolving issues).
    • Family Background (happy childhood and supportiveness of your parents)
  • eHarmony is unsure how to match you

One of the men at the table said he went in and took the test again, just changing the questions that referred to physical appearance being important and he was accepted, but then decided not to do it.  He ranted about how “of course physical appearance is very important to me!”

In any case, this is fascinating to me.  I can’t think it would be good for your self-esteem if you are looking for love and end up being rejected by a website claiming to be able to find you love after you took their personality test.  If I wasn’t dating anyone right now I would definitely take the test just to see what happens.  Happily, though, I don’t have to use online dating (and probably never will again, no matter what happens with my man right now).

More information:

“They Met Online, but Definitely Didn’t Click”, The Washington Post, May 13, 2007.

Why People are Rejected by eHarmony“, Little Red Rails Online Dating Guide & Blog.

“Your question answered: Why eHarmony rejected you”, eHarmonyBlog.com.

Four hundred and eighty-eight

Oops!  My excuse for the missed Wednesday blog…

The herb salad is made and waiting on the counter to add the white wine tarragon vinegar, oil and lemon dressing.  The water for the corn and yellow beans are ready on the stove.  LP is making the turkey burgers.  The smell of the barbecue and mint from the salad hang in the air.  The beer is cold, the wine is open, the berries are washed and ready for dessert.  It’s day three of my four-day mini-break to LP’s mom and partner’s gorgeous house in the forest of Montebello, Quebec.

My old friend Meg drives up to the house, arriving from Gatineau, to have dinner with us.  It’s been at least a year since I’ve seen her – although she has been a great supporter of the blog.  After our hugs and hellos and general catch-ups, she says to me: “You didn’t blog yesterday”.

“Well I only blog on Wednesdays now,” I say nonchalantly, and then it hits me – it’s Thursday.  I didn’t blog yesterday!  Oh no!  I promised every Wednesday and now I have broken my promise.  I even spent Tuesday on the train to Montreal writing.  It didn’t even occur to me that it was “blog day” the following day.  I was so excited about seeing LP (who is still working in Montreal), going to Montebello, trying to listen to what the lady beside me was saying when she was talking to herself in what sounded like spoken shorthand, and getting on a roll with writing, that I forgot to blog altogether!

I guess I don’t really have an excuse.  Sometimes my excitement for new things takes over and I forget the routine.  I’ve never been much for routine.  It’s the reason I have a calendar and write everything down.  My calendar fails me, though, when it’s pinned to the bulletin board in my bedroom and not on the train to Montreal with me.

Thursday night, as we ate our dinner on the upstairs balcony overlooking the Ottawa River Valley with the sun setting, I couldn’t seem to get too upset that I missed a Wednesday of blogging.  Sometimes a trip to a beautiful house in a beautiful environment away from the city is just the thing to refresh a weary mind and body.

I turned to Meg and LP and sighed.  “One day I’ll own a house like this, where I can spend my mornings with coffee reading the paper, afternoons writing and going for walks, and evenings cooking, then curled up by the fire reading.  One day – hopefully sooner than later!”

Four hundred and seventy-one

A few eclectic comments that sort of tie together in the end:

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it” – Chinese proverb

I just read 25 Quotes To Inspire You To Do The Impossible on triathlete, traveller and spear-thrower Joel Runyon’s Blog of Impossible Things, with many more inspirational quotes in the comments on this post.  I’ve always loved quotes and I’m feeling very inspired right now.  Everyone wanting to interrupt me from doing the impossible get out of my way!

I’m also feeling fierce having pondered contract legalese for the past week.  Why can’t all of these things be written in plain English?  I feel like I’m finally getting a grasp on the questions I want to send to my agency about our contract negotiations.  This is after getting advice from a producer, a writer, and a lawyer.  I’m still waiting to hear back from one other lawyer.  I might be going a little over the top with this, but I’m terrible at this contract stuff, so I really want to make sure I understand what I’m signing and I’m happy with it.  I’m determined that this book is going to do well and that this is the beginning of a long career as a successful writer.  Because I love my agent so much, this could be a lifetime contract.  I feel a little bad I’m taking so long with it, but everyone keeps telling me not to stress (I was feeling a little overwhelmed) and take my time.  In any case, I am proud of my work and want to share it with the world – but I also want to be able to live off of my writing so I don’t have to waitress full-time.  My friend made a comment today that I don’t want to be the next “Leonard Cohen/Brian Wilson/Rocky Balboa from Rocky V where his accountant takes all his money”!  That made me laugh.

Speaking of making me laugh, have I mentioned recently that the top searches for finding my blog are still consistently: “diapers women”, “women wearing diapers”, and “women wear diaper photo”?  During Out of My Comfort Zone month I wore a diaper, had a not-so-great experience and wrote about  it.  I tried to be fair and discuss all of the reasons one might need (or want) to wear a diaper.  I also took a self portrait of myself in a diaper – with shorts over top of the diaper.  It is not a revealing photo.  I never thought there were so many people out there looking for photos of women in diapers.  There are times I feel slightly disturbed about this, but most often I find it funny.  It just shows there are people out there looking for everything on the internet.  And posting about my life and experiences online is bound to provoke people in different ways.

Finally, one other thing that inspires me: my camera, my computer, a glass of nice wine, and the sunset on my balcony.  Life is good!

Four hundred and fifty-seven

Procrastination

It’s blog day and I have the whole day off to write.

10:00 am – (I closed at the pub last night, so I slept in a little) Wake up.  It’s such a beautiful day.  I think I’ll sit out on my balcony and read a book for a bit to wake up.

11:00 am – I’m hungry.  It’s time to make breakfast.  Maybe I’ll check my e-mail while I’m at it.  And check the weather forecast, read the news, check my Facebook, send directions to my friends for my parents’ house where my dad and I are having a big joint birthday bash this weekend, play a game of solitaire, check my e-mail again (hotmail and two g-mail accounts), play another game of solitaire because I lost the first one.

12:00 pm – Put on my bikini and lay out in the sun for a bit reading my book again.

1:00 pm – Make coffee and back on the computer making a playlist for the party this weekend.  I open my blog account, but decide I need to check my e-mail again.  Maybe something really important came up in the past hour that I need to respond to.

2:00 pm – I must have a shower.  I take my time – I have the whole day off, no rush.

2:30 pm – Make more food and eat while reading.  Debate whether I should be writing, but decide I have plenty of time and will do that later.  Decide whether I should run errands today or tomorrow.  Decide on tomorrow.

3:00 pm – Move to the couch to read.  Boyfriend calls from Montreal where he’s living right now and chat with him.  Make vegan chocolate chip cookies because I really want something sweet.

4:00 pm – Make a list of all the things I need to do.  Don’t actually do any of them.  Eat too many cookies.  Sit back down to read.

5:00 pm – Fall asleep on the couch.  It’s fine, it can’t be that late.

7:00 pm – Napped far too long.  Eat dinner and more cookies.  Open my computer to write.  Check e-mail again.

8:00 pm – Cross one thing off the list: take out recycling.  Realize how late it is and get frustrated with myself for not being more productive (although I did almost finish my book that I started last night).

8:30 pm – Respond to comments on blog.

9:00 pm – Finally start writing.

That is truly how I spent my whole day off.  It’s almost embarrassing.  I obviously needed the relaxing time, but it’s very frustrating.  Perhaps this is what people call writer’s block?  Although I don’t have a problem writing, I just sometimes have a problem forcing myself to actually sit down and do it.  That’s why the daily blog was so fantastic – I was forced to write every day.  And I still do (well most days, unless I’m working a really long shift at the pub and too tired to write anything worth reading), but it becomes harder and harder to devote good quality time to writing.  I love to write and when I actually sit down to do it, it pours out of me through the keyboard and onto the screen.  It’s just so easy to do other things, though.  There’s always e-mail to check, or laundry to do, or recycling to take out, or lists to make, or errands to run, or grandmothers to call (which reminds me…).

Friends have suggested I go write in a coffee shop without internet where I don’t have the distractions of my house and am forced to just sit and write.  I’m a server, though, so would be too worried about sitting there for too long taking up a table and would either be too distracted by that or keep buying things I don’t want so I’m not worried about it.  I go through phases where I write heaps, and then I have days like today where I end up leaving all my writing to the very end of the day.  If any other writers out there want to share their tips of avoiding procrastination, I’m all for it.

I find the busier I am the more productive I am, so maybe I should plan my days off with lots of things to do, so I have to slot in time to write.  Alas, there is no point in me complaining because it’s done and the day was very pleasant and relaxing.  And now I’m in the mood to write.  The two-hour nap means I won’t be going to bed for awhile, so book, here I come… (As long as I resist checking my e-mail again!)

Four hundred and forty-three

Update on the book and the publishing process

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you all on the publishing process, and I know some of you are interested for your own writing journey, so I figured today would be a good day.  Well that and the fact that I’ve spent the day biking across the city, visiting one of my best friends and her adorable newborn baby (who spit up on me on several occasions, but completely adorable spit ups), then writing about Cooking 30 Countries and the aftermath of date month, and I’m pretty exhausted.

To recap how the process has gone so far:

  • After my blog was featured on Freshly Pressed, I got an e-mail from a literary agent asking to meet with me about representation.
  • We met for tea (her) and coffee (me), all went well and I sent her my prologue.
  • She and her intern both liked what I wrote and we decided to work together.
  • I am writing the book and sending it to the agent section by section for her to edit and makes suggestions as to formatting, the  information I’ve chosen to include, and the flow.

What’s happening now:

I’m up to the fourth month/section in writing and the second in editing.  My agent was away at the book fair in London, England (sort of speed dating for agents and publishers) and just got back.  She has sent me her edits for the prologue and the Extreme Couponing section which have been really helpful in pointing out what things I’m missing.  Sometimes it’s hard to make sure to explain everything and include all the details, instead of just filling them in in my head and assuming the reader will figure it out.  As well, she’s been great at filtering out unnecessary information I’ve added.  I’m pretty proud of what’s been written so far.  I think it’s going to be a really fun book!

We met the other day and chatted a lot about things I need to focus on in my writing as well as general book trends in the publishing industry (apparently erotica is very hot right now – excuse the pun – because of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy that has been flying off the shelves).  I am officially signing a contract with her once a friend of mine looks it over and we make sure we’re all happy  (it looks fair to me so far, but it’s good to get a second professional opinion before signing anything).  She then will start pitching the book to editors and publishers, starting with New York, then at other book fairs depending on what the market is looking like for the type of book I’m writing.  From there it’s up to my agent to negotiate for me and find the right fit for an editor and publisher with my book.  It’s all pretty exciting.  And I’m really liking how the book is going so far with the writing.

Alas, it needs to be finished before any publishing happens, so I better get back to it and write a little more before bed…