Balancing Writing & Life—The World Rewards Finishers NOT Perfection

Elen Grey | Deep in B-ville Writing Over the Garage:

I need to be a finisher, not a perfectionist. Do you need to be a finisher, too? Author and Social Media Expert Kristen Lamb has some thoughts on that. Lamb is a blogger to read.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

Original image via Lucy Downey from Flickr Creative Commons

The world around us is always pushing this notion of “perfection” and, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder what “reality” looks like. All the models are tall and thin and young with poofy lips (and men have their own variety of the super model stereotype). They have fabulous clothes and new cars and go on expensive vacations.

Even our homes! When I look around my house that’s littered with toys, my sink full of dishes and two baskets full of laundry (even though I just DID laundry) I wonder what a real home is supposed to look like? Where do I fit? Sure NOT on Pinterest.

Granted, there are areas I KNOW I am slacking (*cough* Christmas tree is STILL standing) and let’s not talk about the state of my drawers and closets. But, I generally (when the…

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Close Shot Friday 012

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The daylilies are blooming. This lovely double bloomer showed up in my side garden one summer. Usually, I travel to Peterborough, Ontario to a farm nursery that specializes in daylilies to get my specimens, but this one just traveled here on its own.

I like that about her.

She squats underneath my hydrangeas paniculata ‘PeeGee’, which are more tree than shrub, across from the kitchen patio doors, which means we commune regularly.

I like that, too.

On the Fast Draft front ~

It was a huge success for me. At the end of the 14 days, I had a 80,255 word count or 321 pages. I started with 15,283 wc, adding 64,972 over the 14 days. Wahoo!

Now begins Candace Havens’ Revision Hell. I’ll keep you posted. I’m actually looking forward to this process.

TGIF, baby!

I’d meet you in the bar in 3…2…1, but I’m melting from the extreme heat index here in my neck of Canadaland.


Close Shot Friday 010

This year is no exception in growing the mystery vine in the compost bin. I’m giving you the close shot first, but then I thought you might like to see some others.

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I love all the yellowy-green in this shot.

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New growth.

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Squatting on the ground, taking these shots from underneath.

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It has a rain happy.

You can just see the compost bin underneath. It needs a net.

On the Fast Draft front ~

I haven’t reported in since the 27th. That doesn’t mean it isn’t going well. It is. I’ve been getting my 5000 word count (20 pages) in every day. Sometimes more. Ahem. With the exception of yesterday. Yesterday, I did absolutely zero. I used Fast Draft-ing time to read, to nap, to think, to wander through the front and back gardens in a misty rain. It’s beginning to look kind of English cottage garden out there.

Oh, and I watched lots and lots of Castle.

Duck and cover.

The last four days of Fast Draft is in front of me. I’ll be making up that 5K.

TGIF, baby!



This weather is really bringing out the roses.

Here’s a shot of the Nearly Wild roses in the back garden.

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Yes, that is their name. It’s a shrub-type that seems to be climbing up the fence. But it is not a climber. No. Shakes head.

And another.

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Here are some shots of the pink Fairy roses in the frontscape. They are tiny and a yummy pink that pales as the blossoms age.

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They are fairly low to the ground and produce masses of blooms from June into the late fall. Love that about them. They have really grown in three years.

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On the Fast Drafting front ~

Yesterday was not good. 1905 words out of the 5000 that I needed for the day. Why? I stalled. Because I got lost in the barrens my manuscript. I had to stop and figure out where I was and where I was going with this story. I couldn’t go forward until I reminded myself of where I had been. Not just where I had been yesterday, but Where I Had Been. It may be because I’ve been writing scenes out of order. So I had to go back and make a list of all my scenes and jot down briefly what was going on in them.

In order to make up for the little glitch in Day 2 of 14 days, I will be writing 250 extra words per day until the end. Totally doable.

Notice how I said little glitch. Nobody whines in a Candace Havens class. It is the No. 1 Rule. Yes, there are rules. And that is No. 1. So. I didn’t call it the epic fail that it felt like, because I didn’t want Candace showing up at my door, waving her big magic wand, and sending me straight to Revision Hell.

Here is what today looked like:

1st hr – 1223 wc
2nd hr – 1837wc *1 1/2 sprint
3rd hr – 1329 wc
4th hr – 1069 wc *45 min sprint

I made my 5000 wc quota for the day + my 250 makeup wc + 208 extra wc. Woot.



From the back garden and over the garage…

First let me say that my heart goes out to Albertans. The flooding has been horrendous and many have lost so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

We’ve been having some intemperate weather the last few days in my neck of Canadaland in the form of a heat wave. Mama Weather has been slapping on the sun screen and flopping at the beach.

Now, all of spring has been cool and rainy. So much so that the back fence remains unstained. I weep.

Not really. It’s an awkward job, and I am the one who will be doing it.

The first day of heat, the temp climbed to 90 Fahren with a 95 humidex — so really, 95. I roll my eyes.

And on the first day I said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ air conditioning.

That was my mantra until about 10:30 at night when it was still 90 Fahren.

And then I totally caved and have not turned off the air in three days.

I wimped out.

In a major way.

I don’t really like turning on the a/c in June. I’m cheapo that way. I like the lower digits on the electric bill.

I’m sure you can relate.

But I cannot work when I’m melting.

And I cannot cook when I’m melting.

And I cannot eat when I’m melting.

You get the drift.

I cannot [fill in the blank].

But one of the good things about the heat is that it causes plants to grow about a foot a day. And they begin to bloom whether you have a green thumb or not.

This is one of my favorite perennials, and this is the best blooming year it has seen.

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Blue and white campanula, aka bellflowers. They bloom from late spring into early summer. They’re bloomers.

Once again with feeling.

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It does a heart good just to look at them.

In writing news, I’m back at Fast Drafting. My FD-ing had been interrupted by a trip to the U.S., or a roadmance as I like to call it.

This time, I have the opportunity to be part of a Candace Havens Fast Draft Workshop. There are somewhere between 35 and 40 of us. 20 pages (5000 words) a day for 14 days.

I got my 5000 words in Tuesday. More than 5000, but I’m banking the rest for another day. It took me 4 1/2 hours and looked like this:

1st hr – 931 wc
2nd hr – 1141wc
3rd hr – 1463 wc
4th hr – 1363 wc
30 mins – 580 wc

Turning off the editor is hard. I want to fix, smooth, and polish as I go along.

That is my nature.

That’s not what Fast Draft is about. It’s about pushing through and getting your story on the page. All of your story.

Each day I hope to get a little faster.

Feel free to cheer me on.

Because after Fast Draft comes Revision Hell.

Hump Day! I’ll be fast drafting over it.


Breaking out…

iStock_000003082509XSmallThis is one of my favorite spring quotes ~

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.

~E.B. White, “Hot Weather,” One Man’s Meat, 1944

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have to do something today to mark the vernal equinox, even though it is 28-feels-like-21 with 100% chance of light snow. Thank you, weather gods.

First, I think I’ll sprint outside and see if the crocus tops are peeking through the snow. They were the other day, but then we got another dusting.

I’ll stick a toe out in the neighborhood, bundle up, and go for a walk. Maybe hit a Starbucks/Second Cup/Timmies/whatever.

I hear a tulip calling my name. I’m a writer. That’s not unusual. I should buy a bunch and put them in a pretty vase.

Combing through a seed catalog would not go amiss.

I’ll sprawl on the napping sofa and stare at the patio. In my imagination the furniture and pots of pretty posies will be there.

I’ll try to be patient with Mama Nature. Everything in its time.

You? What are you planning to do to mark the vernal equinox?

Fast Draft Update ~

Day 6 (March 19) – 2511 words — 10 pages.

Total – 20,837 words — 86 pages.


Oh. I kind of look like this chick today, but that’s largely due to fast drafting. And my little chick feet are in serious need of a pedi.

Vernal Equinox, baby!


Note: These images are all licensed, royalty-free images. They are not for sharing. Thank you.