Mysterious Minds

For my readers who are not writers, bear with me. I’m wearing my writer’s hat today. Boring maybe. Necessary, definitely. And I promise that next week we will talk about something really fun. Cooking, sex, chocolate, wine, movies…I’m not sure. Let me surprise you. : )

My son, looking surprised. : )

Wonder which word got to him? My bet would be cooking. Hmmm? Wonder when he’s going to shave or get a haircut?

I’ve always been fascinated with how the mind works. While we might kid ourselves that we know who we are and how we work, our mind will often surprise us. This past week I had a ton of things to do after arriving home from RWA National conference. I was met with a revision letter on one book, a notification that final edits on another would arrive in ten days, and I had four or five submission requests from editors and agents. I made a list: a very careful to do list that showed the time frame for when I would complete these requirements. I figured the revisions letter needed a solid week. But I really didn’t know because I hadn’t had one of them before. I factored in the following so that I would not overextend myself:

Add an extra day for each child you have. Check. Kids are independent, so no need.

Add an extra day for husband or S.O. Again, no need.

Factor in the day job. Well, I’m retired so writing is the day job. Not needed.

Add in an extra day for animals in case there is a day to be spent at the Vet. No need. Goldfish don’t go to the Vet. : )

Factor in one day for an unexpected invitation. No need, any person who wants to go to lunch or dinner in 110 degree weather is not worthy of getting a day on their behalf.

Factor in a movie. Nope. I’m waiting for the next Meryl Streep movie, so I’m free and clear until mid-August.

Factor in one extra day in case I get a bad headache, a stomach ache, a sinus infection. So far that’s the only thing needed. One extra day.

Eight days total. That includes one hour each morning for social media and general fooling around while having breakfast, a one hour trip to Curves for a workout 3X and on alternate days, a swim, or riding the indoor bike while watching the Olympics, and it even allows for flopping on the couch after six p.m. Marketing and housework…done. Beauty treatments put on hold,  (who cares about chipped nails and gray roots…we are writers damn it.) So, during those eight days I figured there would be only the occasional light clean up and laundry, and ducking out to pick up a pizza, chocolate bars, or an extra bottle of wine. Yeah, I factored in the odd reward or two. : ) Okay, so piece of cake, right? Wrong.

I was three days in to the revisions and making great progress when I came to a screeching halt. I’d gone back so deep into my characters that I kept thinking about their archetypes. I blame the Barbara O’Neal and Robin LaFevers workshop at National for that. I knew my heroine had the archetypal journey of the orphan, but the more I thought about her the more I wanted to go deeper to make sure. So I ordered a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book to my Kindle. Just to take a look at a story they’d referenced in the workshop. I got hooked. On second thought I’ll blame SEP for the sidetrack. It wasn’t this book, which I also loved, but one of her earlier ones. That’s us at a book signing last year.

Me looking dorky ’cause I’m standing with SEP.

Anyway, I spent the afternoon on the couch. Then I finished the story by reading until 2am. The next day I was useless. Finally, I got back to the revisions and they made so much more sense to me. But for future manuscript revisions, I’ll factor in three days for reading a book.

‘Cause you never know, and the mind, yeah, it works in mysterious ways.

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16 Responses to Mysterious Minds

  1. Janie Emaus says:

    This is so spot on! Loved it.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks, Janie. I’m glad you think so because I am brand spanking new to all of this.

  3. Ah, Robena…lists. I make them, I break them, but I eventually get through them – almost never in the timeframe I’ve designated. But I do get through them. Oh, and the stuff that doesn’t ever get done on the list? It wasn’t important in the first place!

    Great post.

    • Robena Grant says:

      I love lists. An ex boss once told me it’s the sign of a tidy mind. (I thought perhaps one with OCD. Ha ha.) Anyway, I do know I love crossing things off when done.

  4. Are adult ‘independent’ children ever guaranteed to be? ‘Boomerang’ kids have their name for good reason.

    You could never look dorky no matter who you stand next to. 🙂

    Yes- three extra days for the mysterious workings of the mind. Sometimes it is three months or three years darn it. But we ‘professionals’ do soldier on.

    Love your sense of humor and truth, Robena.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Ha ha, Christine. Believe me I was both starstruck and dorky being in the same room as SEP.
      Boomerang kids? I hope they allow me at least five to ten years ’cause I got stuff to do.

  5. You never look dorky, Robena! I wish I’d attended that workshop. There were so many fabulous workshops but so many other obligations that I could only attend half a dozen.

    You are far more organized than me – I never make a timeline for revisions or anything. I just dive in and discover how long it takes – as long as it takes. LOL.

    I’m glad you’ve got one of you check offs done. Keep on truckin’!

  6. Robena Grant says:

    You don’t make a timeline ’cause you’re an old pro. : ) Being new to this I didn’t know if it would take a week or a month. Ha ha.

    Anyway, I did finish revisions today and sent them back to the editor.
    Now I’m waiting on the arrival of final copyedits on book #1. Should be this week sometime. Yep, I’m truckin.’ The wheels are spinning.

  7. Loved the look into your processes and their hijacking. SEP will do that or O’Neal. I don’t know LeFevers. Guess I’ll have to check them out.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Hi, Judy. I’m not sure it’s a process. I’m figuring it out as I go along, and I’m easily hijacked. Don’t know if you have access to the RWA CD. I think it was recorded. It was a very good workshop titled: Beyond the Heroes Journey: Exploring Other Archetypes for Women.

  8. Nan says:

    Great post, Roben! I got sidetracked last week by the newest book by Douglas Kennedy–Moments. He is such a wordsmith–his sentences are the kind you stop and read aloud just because they’re lyrical and amazing.
    Lists are a part of my life, although I’m so overwhelmed right now that I’m too easily distracted. I’m not sure how work piles up, but it does…even though they’re paying me, I’m ready for a break!
    You look fantastic in your pictures, babe!!

  9. Robena Grant says:

    Hi Nan. I’ll look into that book, Moments. I need something wonderful to read after the next round of busyness.

    Final copyedits on book #1 arrive in a few days. Today I tackle the submission requests from conference, plus do my work for the chapter board. Work! It never ends. : )

  10. Carol says:

    I live by lists. Most days I cross everything off. That’s a good day. I just finished Barbara O’Neal’s book; How to Bake a Perfect Life. My list is carried over to tomorrow. Plus I bought The Lost Recipe for Happiness. The light will be burning tonight.

    I ordered The Observation Deck, picked it up yesterday, this is going to be one excellent tool for writing. Thanks. Tomorrow afternoon is a 3 hour writing session with Push2Pro group. If I get stuck, I’m pulling a card.

  11. Robena Grant says:

    Carol, I’m so glad you bought The Observation Desk. It really is a fun way to stir the old brain into action. Not that yours is an old brain. : ) And yep, I love Barbara O’Neal’s books. There are only a handful of authors I buy by name only, and I’ve never ever been disappointed with anything they’ve written.

  12. Julie says:

    I’m not in the writerly group, but it didn’t matter, your posts are always so well done that we all feel included. This was right up there, I totally got it.

    Also? That picture of your son is GREAT! No need for any trimming or grooming of any type. Should we swap boys? Mine keeps getting his damn hair cut too short!

  13. Robena Grant says:

    Ah, but you are indeed a writer, Julie.
    Your daily blog at: is proof of that.
    I love to tease my son about his scruffy look, but truth is his hair is always soft and shiny and I’m jealous. : )