ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…


I’m really terrible at setting goals for myself.


This is not because I’m lazy or because I don’t like to have goals. It’s because I have incredibly unrealistic ideas of how much I can really accomplish.

For example, this summer, I was supposed to finish What You Stand For, and I expected to be deep into the third draft of What You Settle For by now, with a tentative start date of September 1 for drafting the Polish Scouts project. I’m going to have to give some thought to a title for that. Instead I spent the summer cleaning the house and driving people around, so now I am at the beginning of the second draft of What You Settle for, still tightening up What You Stand For, and still plotting the Polish Scouts project.

But it’s all good, I guess. I’m going to get finished with the Brooks and Kit books and then I’ll be moving into this scouts project.

Anyway, I’ve decided recently to add a goals section to my bullet journal, mostly so I can think about what I need to get done every week. I’ll be away next weekend but in the meantime the goals are:

  1. 2,000 words a day.
  2. Blog twice this week.
  3. Prepare lunches and dinners for the days I’ll be gone.

The third goal is mainly because, though I love my husband, he’s terrible about feeding the children nutritious food. If I’m not here he goes to the grocery store for every meal, and buys pre-made food of some kind. Doughnuts. Mac and cheese. Greek pizza. When I get home they are all in a bad mood and he doesn’t get the connection.

I’m kind of excited about the trip, which I will be posting about later in the week. Meanwhile, the dirty dishes are calling my name.

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The Rainy Season

I haven’t been in the blog for a bit. Summers are hard for moms! It’s because the schedule is never the same, day to day or week to week.

In any case, it’s rainy season here. It’s kind of rainy season with a vengeance. I haven’t seen it rain like this in Los Alamos in several years now, though of course we got three days worth last September. I like the sounds it makes. I like watching the grass grow. And I like the way the ground is soft even when the sun’s shining.

I also like that I didn’t hang the laundry on the clothesline today.

I’ve finished my last pass through What You Stand For, although I have a pivotal scene I’m going to need to rewrite. Over Thanksgiving break, Kit meets up with her ex-boyfriend, who works in Kit’s family’s hardware store. They have a fairly civilized conversation in which he tells her that there’s nothing wrong with her but he was in the wrong place to be making long-term plans with her or anyone. Now that I’ve started work on the sequel (What You Settle For), though, I need for the two of them to be fighting still. So it’s time for a new scene.

I wish I hadn’t thrown out the scene I had where they did fight. Although I threw it out because it was too cliche-ridden to use. I’m not sure I should have her sit down to talk with him but she does in some way need to find “closure.” Maybe hers comes from accepting that he’s never going to tell her she was fine and she needs to come to that understanding on her own.

This seems like something that would happen in real life (an important goal for me). But I’m not sure it’s dramatic enough. Hopefully when I’m actually sitting down to work on it, inspiration will come. And if it’s funny enough, it won’t matter if it’s dramatic.

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This was my week…

I think I’ve mentioned before (and if I haven’t, well, here it is):  I do an awful lot of volunteering.

Part of that is being a mom of three school-age kids in a small town.  They do a lot of activities.  Consequently, I have a lot of time where I’m hanging around waiting for something to finish.  And this year, the three school-age kids are all going to three different schools.

My son, T, is in the high school band.  So I have volunteered to be in charge of the marching band uniforms this year.  He’s also an Eagle Scout candidate, so I’m a merit badge counselor.  He does ski race club, so I’m on the board for that.  My daughter A is in the middle school band and is a competitive gymnast, so I’m on the board at the gymnastics school.  A plays hockey and I volunteer to keep score.  My other daughter K loves swimming and has lots of friends who all like to hang out here.  She’s in elementary school, so I put together the yearbook.  And I’m on the board at our pool.  And this week I was co-director of our church’s VBS.  I used to teach Sunday School but I’m over-committed already, so I costume the Christmas Play every year too.

Also, I’m sure I missed something.  And meanwhile, I like to write, and knit, and read, and watch TV.  I sew sometimes but don’t really like it.  I scrapbook but that’s been sitting for a couple of years now.  And soon I’ll be deep into the long-awaited renovation on my house.  I’ve lived in the house for 14 years and am finally ready to modify it.

Not to be whining, though.  I’m busy but I still find the time to write.  This week I have finished my final revisions to What You Stand For.  I’m starting the draft of What You Settle For (though possibly will change the title to What You Long For.  Or even something else).  And I know I said I wasn’t going to be ready, but I am.  So I have signed up for Colorado Gold the first week in September!  I’ve booked the conference, and the hotel, and I’m going to attend a pitch session to see if I can get the thing sold.

The plans at the moment are, if I come back from Colorado with no contract or interest, that I will start sending out queries trying to get the thing sold.  I’ll be looking at partner publishing as well as traditional routes.  Because, honestly?  It’s good.  It’s a good book.  I would have wanted to read it when I was in my late teens.  It would’ve been great to read about a character who resented her family and friends sometimes, who had to battle against assumptions about her, who was for the first time examining her life and her attitudes.  Instead young adult fiction then was often written from a “problem of the week” viewpoint.

But, I digress.  Independent of what happens in the book, I’m confident that it’s well written.  Selling and writing don’t come from the same place, so selling is a whole new set of skills for me.

Okay, back to work for me.  Have a great weekend, all!

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