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I’m moving my blog to the domain name I purchased last year … Check it out: http://arlenehittle.com

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During our last NARWA carpool, we were chatting away when my friends decided I was organized.

My first thought? “Yeah, right.” I believe I said something like, “You wouldn’t say that if you saw my desk at work.”

That’s true. My desk is one of the messiest in the newsroom, with piles and piles of stuff. My bedroom is the same way: stuff everywhere. Of course, I do know right where to find most things, so I guess you could call it “organized chaos.”

And yes, I am that girl — the one who has an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of her word count progress.

I have to use that silly program somehow, since I paid an arm and a leg for it in my Office package. I bought it for the Word, but refuse to have TWO unused programs. Since I have no idea how to set up Entourage, Excel it is. I’ve even figured out how to create cool charts to show my progress.

Hmm. If that makes me organized, I’m guilty as charged. Especially now that I’m focusing on treating writing like my day job so it’ll become my day job, I’ve been keeping track.

And I have been busy: Since deciding last year to enter the Golden Heart, I’ve …

  1. Revised Brad & Erin’s story and sent out several queries on it. (Received one nibble, which resulted in a rejection.)
  2. Entered it in the Golden Heart, where it received solidly average scores.
  3. Taken part in my first NaNoWriMo, writing about 25,000 words.
  4. Finished the first draft of my first single-title length novel.
  5. Edited it into a second draft, written a synopsis and query and submitted it to a handful of agents. (Two wanted to see more.)
  6. Expanded Cassie and Dustin’s story to the proper length for category romance, editing and revising as I went along.
  7. Done the same for Bree and Mike’s story.
  8. Written about two-thirds of Meg and Matt, finishing a first draft.
  9. Crafted the dreaded query and synopsis for Meg and Matt.
  10. Started a second single-title story, a sequel to the first.

Wow, I have been busy. Four series manuscripts and one single-title … Now all I need to do is find someone who’s interested in publishing one — or all — of them.

Let the organizing continue! 😉

… Or maybe not. Thanks to an impromptu write-in at Starbucks this morning, I had my work done early today. And that left time for not one but two walks before I headed to my day job, which is really more of an afternoon/evening job.

I wish I worked more regular hours, like 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., instead of getting off between midnight and 1 a.m. But someone has to stay up late to get the freshest news in your morning newspaper — and that someone is me.

I used to be a reporter, but decided to move into page design so I’d have more time to write fiction in my off hours. When I was writing all day at work, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was write some more. I figured that the opposite would also be true: If I didn’t spend all day writing, I’d spend more time writing at home.

That worked for a while … but writing fell by the wayside for a while – longer than I want to admit — after the Sept. 11 attacks. I just didn’t feel much like writing “funny” after that.

Thank goodness I got my groove back.  And now that I’m requiring myself to do some actual writing work before I start messing around online, I’m making some real progress.

Still, a part of me wonders if I really am good enough … Those who’ve read my stories say they like them, but they’re not the powers that be in the publishing world.

It’s probably the same part that’s holding me back from getting to my goal weight, that piece of me that doesn’t think I’m quite good enough.

Can I kick her a$$?Please? It’s time to put myself out there and risk rejection.

“Julie & Julia” inspired me to start a blog of my own. I’m sure I’m not the only one. How many people have rushed home after seeing that flick, eager to share their thoughts with the world — or at least the blogosphere?

Actually, this isn’t my only blog. I have a weight-loss blog at Blog to Lose, and I just branched out with a weight-loss blog here at WordPress.

But as I sat there, watching poor Julie struggle with a directionless life and a milestone birthday, I realized I’ve been stagnant myself.

I’ve known since second grade that I wanted to be a writer, you see. As I got older, I realized a writing career isn’t exactly practical. In my high-school-age wisdom, I decided to go into journalism because I could still make a living with my writing while I was trying to sell my first novel.

Well, I’ve been out of college for 15 years and … there’s still no novel of mine gracing the shelves. I’m pushing 40, and I’ve been muddling along as a journalist — making a living writing, yes, but not in the way I had in mind. I figured that by now, I’d have at least one novel sold. Best-case scenario, I was going to be the next Danielle Steele by 30.

Today, it hit me: Blogging has helped me lose weight, so why can’t it help me get published?

Between the support I get from Weight Watchers and my friends at Blog to Lose and SparkPeople, I’ve lost 60-ish pounds. (I have at least 15 more to go, but that’s another story.) If I spend as much time writing romance as I do with my weight-loss endeavors, I can’t fail!

So here we go … follow me on my quest to be published by 40. My first rule: No online time for the day until I’ve written at least two pages (or edited two chapters, depending on what I’m doing that week).