Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Insert Evil Laugh Here

Hi! I'm working hard on a few projects this week, including a couple of humorous essays to submit to two different humor contests, my second book and oh yeah, work.

This week is evaluation week at work, and you can bet your butt that I'll be using that somehow to be funny. After the tears have dried, that is.

I've decided I like writing so much because it always involves me talking about myself. And occasionally my loved ones. But mostly making fun of my loved ones, which is oddly fun for me, too.

I really, really love writing. I feel like I'm full of vim and vigor and vinegar and vinaigrette when I'm writing. I feel alive.

I hope that I can do this full time. Amy is editing the manuscript this week, I hope to submit it to atleast two publishers, Ten Speed Press and Sourcebooks before I leave for vacation.

My plan is to get the book published, make a little money from it, have enough interest from a publisher to write a sequel, and keep writing and writing. And also winter in Mexico. Ah, I can picture it now.

I better get back to my real job though, the one that pays the bills...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Guess What I Accomplished Yesterday

Yesterday was a Saturday, my mom and step dad's 22 year wedding anniversary. I woke up early, invited them over, made them a lovely breakfast to celebrate, and then went to town with them to an art festival, bought my sweetheart one of his birthday gifts and went for a walk. Yup, all in one day.

Oh, did I mention I finished the first draft of my book??? How is this possible, you may be asking yourself. She just started three weeks ago. This is possible because I am driven. This is my passion and this has been my focus almost consuming my entire life. I have never been able to stay so with a project, despite my earlier complaints about lack of focus. I feel it, this is what I'm going to be doing. Also, I can't even begin to imagine that I'll have to be at my job this time next year, I am really not enjoying it and it does not fulfill any part of me, other than my wallet.

I want to write full time. I want to promote and tour and blog and be funny. This feels right.

I edited it one time and completed all the artwork for each chapter. I'll be submitting it to my editor and dear friend Amy tomorrow and hopefully she can get it done in not too long, I know she has her own creative pursuits going on and I don't want to take away from that.

My mother has been doing so much research about publishers for me, which is so great because I have no skill whatsoever for that sort of thing. The one I'm currently focused on is Sourcebooks, as they allow un agented and un published authors to submit. Right now I'm working on my submission package...that sounds sort of dirty, doesn't it? Never mind.

I've never done anything like this before and I am SO excited. This is it, keep believing in me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keeping the Focus

Focus. Lately it seems to be something I lack. I lack focus in my work because I think about working on the book or other writings instead. I lack focus on the book because I think about writing columns on other subjects and worry when I'll find the time to get it done. I lack focus on my lunch because I'm typing this blog instead.

I have roughed out Chapter Five, but I don't have any of the art done for it and that helps to get a complete picture of what I want to write. I worry that I'm not funny anymore. That I'm trying too hard. I'm having a hard time finding a silent moment in my brain, even though I advocate that in the book to help with finding your creativity.

I wish I was already there, done, getting published. I'm going to have to work on my focus and my patience, I think.

In happy news I get to eat Mexican food tonight. I'm meeting up with a friend for dinner (but no margaritas, this place can't serve hard liquor. Sort of missing the point of being a Mexican restaurant in some ways) and then a movie. I'm embarassed to say the movie is Sex in the City. She asked if I would go and even though I don't care about high heels, fashion, the sex lives of these women and never watched the TV show, I figured it would still be a good time.

I have a whole hour for lunch today. It's 2pm and I'm just getting to eat, but atleast I've got the time to work on my book. We'll see what the next 57 minutes bring.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chapter Four, Done and Funny!

I did lots of work this weekend. Saturday I went to my mom's house and we made collages together, mine with the intention of getting entered as fodder into the collage chapter of my book. Mom made one collage, I believe when I asked her what the theme was she said "Things that I think are pretty enough to go into a collage". Good enough for me!

After finishing the collages I came home and took very unfocused pictures of them and started chapter four. After sending part of it to Mom and making an edit of something she found politically incorrect, I gave it a rest for the night.

On Sunday, today, I banged out the rest of the chapter, went through and edited it a few times, and then also completed a column I am submitting to a local publication, hoping to get published. It doesn't pay, but that's not my purpose, I want to get out there and prove to myself I can do this.

I had a mini melt down (and I don't mean a delicious mini melted cheese sandwich, either) at the end of this week worrying that I'll never get published. I've got the ego, I think I'm talented, funny and have a great product to sell, but the fact that I have no agent, am unpublished and don't have a sex tape to get myself started and noticed is making me sort of nervous. I can do this though.

Now it's time to watch TV, because that solves all problems. Maybe some wine, too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

October 12, 2009

This is my fantasy of what will be going on on the date of October 12, 2009, as written in an email to Amy.

A Monday. Columbus Day, actually, is that a holiday at work? It doesn't matter. At all. Because this is what Amy and Jen will be doing:Amy: Will be on her autumn tour promoting her well received album, "Guacamole on the Side" on the west coast. Her album was released April 7, 2009 and she has played her hit single, which was released in March, "Four Days From Homeless" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and on Ellen. Her summer tour sold out in many locations. She has received lots of free Mexican Food since the release of her second single "Mexican Restaurants" in July. She purchased her first home in May. She is on the phone with Jen alot because she is getting married in December and she has lots of questions. Amy quit her job with a flourish which included a juggling act and fire-eater on November 19th, 2008 after signing her record contract.

Jen: Will be writing her follow up book, "Office Supply Art Returns: Some Awesome Stuff Made by Other People". Her first book about Office Supply Art was released in May of 2009 and was followed with a book tour and some other stuff. She bought a house in the mountains and now works when she feels like it, usually sometime after she wakes up in the morning and before she goes to sleep at night. Her multiple title book deal was signed in December of 2008, days before she ran through the office, naked, shouting how she was never going to wear heels again. Once she was released from jail she spent the rest of the winter in Mexico with her sweetheart and her cats. She is going to visit Amy in Oregon next week and sleep on her tour bus and make her quesadillas. She is also going to remind Amy that she will be turning 30 on November 23rd, 2009, so Amy will get her a good gift.

This is it, people! This is my gift and purpose. I want to write! And be funny! And help people find that passion about doing the things they love and seeing humor in life!

Chapter Three

Chapter Three - Stars - In the can, baby. Not in the bathroom, either, which is where I should really be right now because I'm squeezing all sorts of parts of me together to try to finish this post before I head that direction.

I came home from work and working out last night with goals and excitement and I did what i set out to do. I finished my star art, took (really blurry, horrible) pics of it, got them onto my computer and then banged out chapter three. I'm still not 100% on it, although I liked it last night more after I stepped away from it for a moment. Sometimes funny people feel like they're not funny. But that's just more Voice of Reason sending doubts my way.

I plan on taking a different avenue on the themes of the rest of my chapters, so far I've focused on art you can make with office supplies, but now I'm going to work on collages and then just other office related humor.

I am so pumped up, this is the first project in my life where I have felt this sustained, real enthusiasm with a real, genuine belief that I can do this for a living. I want to write humor and integrate art, cooking, kids and art eventually, travel, who knows, I feel the whole world is cracking open for me now and that I AM good enough to do this. I have a plan in place, thank goodness for Amy, she is really helping me get this together, and I'm going to try and try and try to get this published and make this my career. It feels natural to me, I won't have to work in an office anymore, it's just perfect for me.

Excuse me now, before something explodes...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Renewed Faith!

I am so excited. But I didn't start out that way. I started out grumpy this morning, I didn't want to go back to work, I'm still coughing alot, my job is pointless, etc etc. So I sent my coworker Amy an email about this. She came down a little while later and walked right over to me and hugged me.

Is it my birthday? Did her dog learn how to use the indoor plumbing? No. She finally read chapter one of the book. I sent it to her a week ago but she's been too busy to read it. She loved it. She has given me the renewed excitement and faith that I have a good idea and I'm funny and I can do this. I could never get anywhere without the support of my loved ones, I'm so thankful for them.

So I'm all revved up, ready to get back to writing. She even said she'd edit it for me, for free. She wants it by August 15th, in about nine and a half weeks. Um, isn't that some smutty sex movie or something? I must research this.

The problem now though is that I don't want to work. Does anyone else feel like their job really has no purpose whatsoever? Especially right now for me, I work in a field that involved airplanes/airports and this is not a good time to be associated with those. The prices are going through the roof! When I think how useless my job seems on top of the fact that it's probably going to be a non existent field in a few years makes me a little...well, nothing. I don't even want to be here, I want to write a book on office supply art and get it published and promote it and do what I was MEANT to do, not this!!!


Monday, June 9, 2008

I'm itching!

I'm itching in more ways than one. First off, my throat and lungs, if that's possible, are itching like crazy and making me cough. I'm sure the people at work that walk by my desk are wondering if I'm going to cough up a hairball or something worse and want me to go home. Oh well, I already missed a few days of work and I'm well enough to be here.

I'm also itching to get back to work on my book! Last night I made some more art out of office supplies, including stars out of paper clips that are quite beautiful. I want to write, I want to create! The biggest motivators are my enjoyment of the project and that I want this to be my last summer being trapped inside an air conditioned prison.

My coworker Amy, who is mentioned in the book quite a few times as my saviour and supporter, just left and is bummed out to be back at work. She would like to be free, too.

Last week when I was sick I caught and episode of Oprah and there was a guy on there who made a career of blowing and making BUBBLES. Bubbles, people. If he can make a career out of that, I can certainly make a career out of writing, being funny, making banana bread, petting my cats and vacationing. I'm serious.

I'm excited, I'm itching to go and I haven't coughed in six minutes! Time to get going on this adventure!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back to Creating

I've been sick the last couple of days and I learned something very important: It's hard to be funny when you're sick. I sat down to finish off chapter two and nothing came out right, it all came out like I had a headache. Which I did. Now I'm in the coughing fit stage, which is a real pleasure-boat ride for my boyfriend, let me tell you.

Today I created stars. That's my theme for office supply art in chapter three. I missed so much work this week I didn't get to create, so I figured I could do some creating in my time off, too. The stars have invisible flecks of spit all over them from my constant coughing, I'm sure that adds to their beauty.

I haven't lost my enthusiasm one bit for this project, which is very unusual for me, usually I have some awesome idea and I'm excited about it until it become unmanageable, like when I realize I'm going to have to spend my own money or take a class or something. This is easy though, it flows right from me, creating art is always fantastically fun for me and since this is made out of office supplies there is no pressure for me to make it realistic, beautiful or good.

I am covered in craft glue and phlegm right now, so I'm going to get away from the keyboard and try to do something else that will help me get closer to finishing the book.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Home Sick

I'm home sick from work today. You know what the means - I'm not at work so I'm not creating even more awesome office supply art. Maybe that means a little more time for working on the book, but we'll see how creative I feel. So far today my creativity has been limited to...

holy mackerel (is that a fish?) I completely forgot this post existed...I was so sick I forgot to ever finish or post it. From the looks of it, not much!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chapter Two

I can't believe I am actually writing chapter two of a real, live book! I was inspired to write Office Supply Art: How to Not Die of Boredom and Lack of Creativity at Your Lame 9 to 5 by my own life experience, namely creating art out of anything I could get my hands on (paper clips, highlighters, permanent markers, sticky notes) to help pass the slow times at my own somewhat corporate job.

The outline of the book and the first chapter flew out of me and they reconfirmed that I am one funny chick! Of course so far only my mom has confirmed that, but hey, she wouldn't lie to me, would she? Just in case she would, I've included a snippet here, and of course this is just the first draft. It's about the things my new, corporate job required me to do and my reaction to having to do them.

I had to start doing things like writing directives, which basically involved using big words to get across a very simple point, spreadsheets to showcase my research, lots of charts and graphs to show the work of my “team” over the past month, meetings set up three weeks in advance that lasted hours, after-hours chamber of commerce things…it was all a bit much.

So that’s when I started freaking out. But my freak outs never got me anywhere. Examples:

Freak out Voice: “Oh my Gosh. This is horrible. I don’t belong here. I belong in the woods with flowers in my hair, dancing and singing and tending to organic fruit trees”

Voice of Reason: “You may not like it here, but you have a mortgage and really don’t have that much luck keeping growing things alive. You even kill cactus plants. Growing organic fruit trees probably isn’t the way to go.”

Freak out Voice: I would rather work part time close to home and have time for pottery and focus on my soul.

Voice of Reason: Can I remind you of that mortgage payment thing? Plus you don’t even know how to make pottery. You made a pinch pot in the second grade for your mom. She uses it as a paper clip holder. And frankly, I’m not all that impressed with your skills.”

Freak out Voice: “My true passion is deep within my soul. I must create. I must have purpose. I’m going to quit my job and go back to school to be a pastry chef.”

Voice of Reason: “Um, yeah. Again, you have a mortgage to pay. And you don’t really like school. And you would probably consume all of the pastries before you had a chance to show your professor your work. And then you would fail and possibly end up on the street, with your two cats on leashes, shuffling from dumpster to dumpster, wondering what happened to your life.”

So, that's just part of it and there is lots more crazy, funny stuff! I hope to finish chapter two, which includes some examples of my office supply art, by the end of this week. Then I have to finish the whole book. Then I have to get it published. But this is what I was meant to do, so I know it will work out for me.