4.26.2015

You'd think it was my kids right??

I mean, there are four of them.

Four.

FOUR!!!

That's too many a lot of children running around.

Sometimes I don't know what to do with them all. There are just so many of them. And they're close in age. My oldest is eight and my youngest will be three in August! I mean, what was I thinking????

People actually ask me that a lot. Complete strangers think it's up to them to remind me how babies are made and what I should do to stop this fertility train.

I usually agree with them.

:)

Just kidding. I love my huge family! I love all of these rugrats running around and creating havoc on my sanity.

I've even wondered if this is enough kids? Or maybe we should add another.

I've also said, a lot, like maybe every day, that this is way too many kids. Usually those statements alternate back and forth.

In one breath, I can wish for another baby and in the next, I can look at my husband, eyes wide with hysterical terror and confusion and demand, WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

It's a lot to deal with. And it's not just the fighting and the screaming, the sheer noise they're capable of generating or the cost. Dear lord the cost.

It's the destruction.

The utter annihilation of property. Of things. Of personal possessions.

I'm often asked at events why I didn't bring the kids? My usual response is because by now they would have burned this place to the ground.

The other person laughs and goes merrily on their way, thinking that I'm just trying to be funny.

They have no idea that I'm completely serious.

My kids are like Tasmanian Devils. They walk into a place- any place- and start spinning around at the speed of sound, obliterating anything in their path.

Sometimes it's on purpose. Like this week when one of them, whom shall remain nameless because I can't figure out which one is lying, scratched three of their names into the center of our table.

They look ridiculous there, etched permanently into the wood in the scrawl of someone too young to write neatly. I'm thinking of decorating with a center piece. And we all know how I feel about decorating.

Clearly, I'm desperate.

I've narrowed my list of suspects down to the only two that know how to write, but each of them are firmly in denial. They refuse to take responsibility no matter what I threaten.

They might be in cahoots.

Sometimes their wreckage is on accident. Like the time my four year old tripped in the upstairs hallway and his huge, hard poor, little head went through the spindle of the railing and snapped it in two. Or the time my six year old stumbled in the bathroom and took the shower curtain with her to the floor.

Accidents happen. That's life.

They just happen more often when there are so many people for them to happen to. We're like a study in statistical probability.

The Statistical Probability of Breaking Things.

When it comes down to it though, when we really get to the bottom of it... I have to be honest.

It's not their fault.

And I'm not just saying that because I'm their mother and I'm hard-wired to excuse all of their faults and short-comings.

No, unfortunately this is a consequence of genetics and they were just unlucky enough to be mothered by me.

That's right. Me. The Queen of Klutz. The Empress of Accidents.

The First Female President of... Breaking Things.

Are you jealous of all of my prestigious titles??? You should be.

It's taken me a life time to learn them and I hate them more than anything am super proud of them.

I can't touch something without it breaking or shattering or turning to ash.

It's true. My record speaks for itself. I have thirty-one years of proof backing me up.

My dad used to use the phrase, "You kids are why we can't have nice things!" And when I was younger, I thought it was because that's what every dad was supposed to say to his kids. It's like a right of fatherhood or something.

Since I've grown up, gotten married and live in a house of my own, I've come to realize that my dad wasn't just speaking out of father-child tradition, but from truth and experience and slight premonition of the future.

I am the reason I can't have nice things. ME. This is solely on my shoulders.

Just a few months ago, I went to open the microwave, a simple, easy task that most human beings are familiar with and I ripped the handle off with my huge ogre hands Hulk strength.

I don't know what happened. I pulled, maybe a little bit too hard, and the whole bottom half ripped off!!

Granted, I don't use the microwave very often. Because.. cancer. But I should be able to open it! That's like one of those life skills you learn in kindergarten.

I passed How to Tie your Shoes. I aced How to Raise your Hand. I struggled, but succeeded with How to Share your Toys.

I miserably failed How to Open Things.

Or maybe I only half-failed. I'm really good at pushing doors open. I just have to be careful when I pull. Lest I turn into a giant, green, rage-filled monster and start wreaking havoc on downtown Omaha.

That was several months ago though. I learned my lesson. I am now very gentle when I pull anything open. I am consciously aware that my biceps are like granite rocks and I should possibly have a comic book written about me. I am more aware than ever.

Except.

Let's take the last twenty four hours into account and put me on trial. Lately I'm not sure I'm fit for society.

Like. Any society.

I love the idea of being an eccentric recluse that hides away in her home, writing bizarre stories and never showering.

Just kidding. Every few days I will consistently shower .

But putting that idea into practice has been difficult.

So, until I find a way to ferret away in an actual writing cave, I am forced to live in the regular world and behave like the weirdest person you'll ever meet a regular person.

The truth is though... I'm not a regular person. I'm a walking disaster. If my kids are Tasmanian Devils, I am an actual force of nature that leaves a wake of destruction in my path.

Like I said, the last twenty four hours.

It all started so innocently.

I recently published a book, aka Friday, and I'm in the middle of finishing another one, aka The Heart, so my house has fallen into a state of disrepair.

I am a Goal Oriented person. I mean, I really focus on finishing that goal. I can't see anything else between that goal and me. I will do anything to get to that finish line.

The little details along the way are ignored and mowed over, all in my attempt to finish.

I've been deep in that psyche for months now. And especially over the last month, I haven't paid attention to the house like I should.

So with L&D, Ep. 10 Live, I decided to spend the weekend scrubbing my house. And not just a gentle, routine scrub either. No, we're talking deep down, dirty, spring cleaning kind of scrub.

I knew it would take me at least two days. So I dedicated Saturday to the main floor and Sunday to the upstairs.

Yesterday I tackled the downstairs like a boss and made that filthy domain my bitch.

That's right, it sparkles like a Disney cartoon and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief that the EPA isn't going to show up at my front door, wearing HAZMAT suits and popping a tent over my neighborhood.

Phew, the world is saved from the Higginson Apocalypse Plague for one more month.

During those epic hours of cleaning, I did something that most house-cleaners do. I dusted.

That's right. I dusted. I pulled out my dusting mit and my super long dusting stick-thing and I dusted everything and anything that could be dusted.

I even dusted children. And toilets and literally anything that could be dusted.

Including my computer.

Sounds simple right?? I used my mit and gently ran over the screen and keyboard. I closed it and dusted the top of it and underneath. I cleaned my desk and dusted all around it. And then I opened my laptop and dusted the screen a second time.

You know. Just in case.

Only, it wasn't just in case. Just in case was a freaking lie! Because instead of giving myself a clear picture and making my work place feel organized and spectacular, I BROKE MY COMPUTER!!!!!

BY DUSTING IT!    

I did something to the screen. It went completely bonkers and split in half. Now it flashes like a strobe light at a rave and shows at least four different versions of my documents.

It's not good.

In fact, it's the end of the world as we know it very inconvenient.

I spent hours in denial, hoping it would just magically go back to being normal.

This might be a big surprise, but that tactic didn't work. So then, I did the only other thing I could think of, which was to restart it and hope that it would just magically go back to being normal.

When that didn't work either, I enlisted my husband. He said, YOU DID WHAT?

I dusted my screen.

To which he said, WHY WOULD YOU DUST YOUR SCREEN????

To which, I said, Because it was dusty?

He spent the next two hours taking the stupid frustrating thing all the way apart, examining it the best he could and then putting it back together.

It didn't work.

I broke it for the reals.

Meanwhile, Zach and I are now sharing a computer until I have time to pick up another one. It's really obnoxious special bonding time for us.

(Don't worry. All of my documents are safe. For now...)

Then. This morning.

It was a lazy Sunday morning for us. He had to work today, so we skipped church and hung out as a family instead.

Translation: He got up early to watch a soccer game and I slept in until 9:30 because I'm awesome.

Anyway, when I finally got up, he decided to make breakfast. (I'm telling you guys, he is the best husband in the entire world. There is not even a competition. He just wins it.)

Only... our eggs were expired. And not just a little expired where you can justify that the sell-by date was close enough that you'll only get slightly sick.. no, like really, really, really expired.

So, I offered to run over to Sonic, which is like two minutes away, and grab him something to eat.

Also, I had really been looking forward to breakfast and they have super delicious Breakfast Croissants.

I gulped down my coffee, threw some sandals on over my green socks and jumped in the mini-van.

It should be noted that I am not exactly a morning person. I'm more like... the anti-morning person of all morning persons. I just don't function well before... noon.

But I got to Sonic without crashing into anything or driving anyone off the road. Then I ordered the food without getting confused or confusing the cashier. Then I paid and put the food in my car without starting the Apocalypse.

But this is where things get a little hairy.

On my way out of my parking lot, I braked. I had anticipated a gently slow-to-stop motion that I can sometimes achieve when I'm fully awake. Instead, I got a jerking slam that sent my bag of breakfast delicacies flying.

Cursing PG-13 words, I stooped over, scooped the tater tots back into the bag and pulled onto the road.

I held onto the bag all the way home because I didn't want a repeat of flying tots.

I reached my neighborhood. I appropriately slowed my speed and navigated the roads to my house. I tapped the brakes and pulled into my driveway.

Then I made the epic mistake of letting go of the bag of food to open my garage door.

I stomped on gently applied pressure to the brakes again while I waited for the garage to lift and was forced to watch in abject horror as the bag of food launched off the ground, somersaulted in the air and dumped tater tots and breakfast burritos all over the floor of my recently-vacuumed Nissan Quest.

My PG-13 curse words turned into something they could get away with on FX.

But, determined not to let a little frustration ruin my morning, I parked the van, bent over and started to carefully return the spilled food into the stupidest now-empty Sonic bag.

This was not easy. In fact, they had been so violently catapulted that they were EVERYWHERE and super difficult to reach.

Still not deterred, I unbuckled and reached as far as I could. When that wasn't far enough, I practically crawled across the passenger's seat to reach the rest.

The subtle pop and whoosh of ice didn't bother me right away. I knew I'd bumped my cup of orange juice in my frantic and more than a little scary gymnastics routine attempt to reach all of the tots. It would be okay though. I was almost done hunting and gathering all of the escaped breakfast food.

Only it wasn't okay.

When I finally sat back, I realized I hadn't jostled my orange juice. I'd squashed it.

With the power of Thor's mighty hammer, I'd managed to squish the Styrofoam cup into a pathetic, crumpled, split-open version of its once glorious self and all of the orange juice that had been previously contained inside its white borders, now filled my cup holder.

Oh, sorry. Not just my one cup holder. But my second cup holder as well.

Orange juice was everywhere. There was an explosion of orange juice strong enough to create its own atmosphere and lightning. (Anyone else fascinated by the videos of Chili???)

Oh, no! I thought. This is a disaster!

I grabbed the bag of food and the broken orange juice cup to keep it from spilling more and sprinted into the house, dripping orange juice the entire way.

I threw the cup in the sink, grabbed the roll of paper towels and then set the bag of rescued food on the counter.

The bag of food, which had been poorly packed, let's just get that out in the open right now, tipped over on the counter and dumped all of the contents for the third time on my freshly cleaned kitchen floor.

It was at that point my PG-13 curse words graduated to an NC-17 rating and my husband sent the children upstairs.

Away from their psychotic mother.

Don't worry, I did manage to clean up all of the orange juice and tater tots. The floor has been re-swept and mopped and even the icky garage floor got a wipe down.

Because I will be damned before there is an ant problem due to that cursed orange juice.

:) 

But that, right there. These last twenty-four hours? Yeah, that's me in a nut shell.

These are not new problems. These are not even since-I-had-kids-and-pregnancy-ruined-my-brain problems.

This is just me. A walking disaster. A tornado of chaos and destruction.

The Seventh Sign of the Apocalypse.

Rachel Higginson, property destroyer at large.

Beware all who spend time near me. Be warned those brave enough to lend me things or gift me presents. Turn back all who value their material possessions.

You have been sufficiently and thoroughly warned.

     



4.19.2015

Who here likes HGTV? Raise your hands!!!

Did you all raise your hands?

Yeah, because I didn't.

I didn't even feel the urge to lift my hand in that tiny half-raise that people who can't decide if they're committed or not use.

I didn't even think about it.

Do I like HGTV? Hell to the no.

Strong words, right?

Last Thursday, I was at MOPS. Which is what I do every first and third Thursday of the week. Because I am a Mother of Preschoolers. And I love my church. But mostly I love the women that go to my MOPS and it's the one morning of the week I don't work.

Anyway, there I was at MOPS, enjoying potluck breakfast, my table of fabulous ladies and the speaker as she talked about mission trips and family. It was such a good morning. I laughed, I cried because I was laughing so hard and I had a heaping plate of some of the best breakfast food out there.

But then, the speaker goes on to talk about how she built a house on her trip and who here doesn't like to decorate? And who here doesn't like to watch HGTV?

I'm all, ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For a second, I thought, Wow. My voice is REALLY super loud. Why am I screaming??? Am I really that enthusiastic about not decorating???

Yes. Yes I am. Only, I wasn't screaming. I was just THE ONLY voice speaking.

Everyone else kept their hands in their laps, firmly confident in the fact that they worshiped loved HGTV.

As they should be. It's their right as Americans, nay, as Human Beings to enjoy HGTV and everything it stands for.

They are welcome to the fixer upper shows and the decorating montages. They can have the buying houses abroad episodes and the house swapping reality experiences. They can be fully versed in backsplash and accent lighting and flooring. They can understand what it means to grout something.

(By the way? What does it mean to grout something? Am I even using that right? Is it like an exotic fish?)

Go for it HGTVers. God be with you.

As for me and my house, we will... not tune in.

Ever.

It's just not in me. I can't do it.

I think it might be a psychological disorder or something. It starts somewhere in my inability to make decisions, picks up speed with my major commitment issues and rounds off with my brutal practicality.

That's like a soup of dysfunction right there. It's no wonder it took me TEN YEARS to decorate my house.

I'm not even kidding. Not a little bit.

Zach and I will be celebrating the Big Ten in August and I finally started hanging pictures this year.

Previously our walls have been barren and our surfaces have been free of knickknacks. We have been a blank canvas waiting for inspiration to strike somebody.

Just as long as that somebody isn't me.

True Story. A few years ago, I had this bowl. I bought it at a garage sale from my friend Kendra. It was five dollars and she got it when she worked retail at Bath and Body Works.

It's cute. It's a cream pestle and mortar ceramic thing, only big and exaggerated because it's from... Bath and Body Works. And they have absolutely no need to pestle or mortar anything.

Anyway, I thought it was cute. But it was also cheap. So that made it SUPER CUTE. It's also awkward because it's so big and completely impractical. I can't use it for anything. It's purely decorative. Which, if you haven't picked it up by now, means I had no idea what to do with it.

We had recently moved and I had accidentally unpacked it. I didn't know what to do with it. I kept moving it around from room to room, but it always got in the way. So to get it out of my hair, I climbed onto my kitchen counters, balanced precariously next to the sink and set it on top of the cupboards.

After jumping down and miraculously not breaking an ankle, I did a little dance and congratulated myself for getting it out of my hair. There, I thought, I won't have to look at it anymore.

Zach came home a few hours later and noticed it immediately. I had completely forgotten about it by that point. He walked into the kitchen, gave me a huge smile and said, "Look at you! You decorated!!"

And you guys. YOU GUYS. My husband, my never-serious, always-sarcastic, completely-cynical husband was proud of me!

It was awful! How did I confess that it wasn't exactly decorating, that instead it was more like storage-ing? And for five whole minutes I had contemplated throwing the thing away just to get it out of my hair??

Okay, it wasn't that hard. I had no problem owning up to the anti-Martha-Stewart image I'm going for. Zach shook his head. And I said, "Hey look! Put this other bowl up there too! It's in my way."

It's safe to say that I'm not going to be joining the cast of Million Dollar Decorators any time soon.

It's not who I am. It's not even someone I want to pretend I am.

And I've never felt any kind of pressure to make it my thing. Or I haven't until I hit thirty and the pressures of acting like a grown up started to crush my soul with the force of Thor's might hammer weigh down on me.

Also. I found Hobby Lobby.

That might have changed a few things.

Before, for whatever reason, I always imagined Hobby Lobby as this mecca/promised land/nirvana for Arts and Crafters. I pictured aisles upon aisles of stamps and entire blocks of the store dedicated to yarn.

I pictured constant scrap-booking tutorials and Kool Aid mixed with Modge Podge

And while that might still be true, Hobby Lobby is SO MUCH MORE than supplies. It also has pretty things that ARE ALREADY MADE!

First, you have to understand that I am not a crafter. Not by any means. I can't even cut in a straight line.

Real Talk: My mother has banned me from using scissors at her house. That's how bad I am.

And this is hard for me. As a creative person, I feel like I should be crafty. I feel like I should be able to go to Pinterest, find the coolest DIY project and whip that thing out like nobody's business.

I should be able to snap my fingers and homemade teacher gifts should appear on the table in front of me. I should be able to blink and my kids should have the cutest birthday cakes EVER. I should be able to twitch my nose and I should have every single thing in my house organized in the quirkiest storage containers in the history of quirky storage containers.

In reality, I'm not very detail-oriented and I would rather create something in my mind than create something with my too-large, ogre hands.

When I sit down with a craft, things might start off on a good note, but I always end the session by banging it against the table and yelling, "WHY YOU SO HARD!!!! WHY YOU SO SMALL!!!" Then I dissolve into a mess of tears and snot and ruin my decoupage.

It's kind of ironic that my IQ drops when I try to apply my brain to something craft-related. It's like I'm allergic to anything that involves cork, charms and fabric.

As soon as I come into skin-to-skin contact with them, I start to show deadly symptoms. I break out in hives. My fingers start swelling. My eyes go cross-eyed.

Quick!! Someone jab an EpiPen in my chest so I can breathe again!!!!!

This huge personality flaw small peculiarity has made beautifying anything... difficult.

To say the least.

It wasn't until I was dragged kicking and screaming stumbled into Hobby Lobby on a whim that I realized how glorious it could be to prettify my walls.

And my house.

And add some nonessentials to our lives.

That's right, I've started to decorate. It took ten years of marriage, thirty-one years of my life and a hundred dollar gift card to Hobby Lobby for my birthday before I joined the Suburban-Mom cult of Shabby Chic Accents and Canvas Photo Groupons. But I am here.

I made it guys!!!! And I get it. I so get it. Now we can totally bond over Metal Vs. Wood and All of the Very Special Uses for Burlap.

I've even hung up pictures. Like on my actual walls. That is MAJOR.

And on my main floor, I only have one room left to decorate. The rest is good to go. Aren't you proud of me?

I've come a long way. And while I might not be quite ready for the Mothership, aka HGTV. I am ready to finally buy a door hanger. Maybe one that is like a decorative H. Or a fabric-y wreath with a giant flower pinned to the side?

I think that's a good place to start. I don't one yet. And I've recently decided that my once vow to never-ever-ever-ever hang anything on my front door because it was too cutlured/permanent/wrong-for-my-gypsy-lifestyle was a silly, youthful whim. (That I made three years ago.)

I'm so much more mature these days.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.



4.16.2015

Me.

That's me.

I am the Worst Reader Ever.

I think I could make this a scientific study if I wanted to. That's how bad things are right now. That's how terrible at reading I am.

If I'm honest, I've been a little- in a not very serious way at all- concerned for my brain.

Why am I like this? How did I get this way??? 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Do you see all of those interrogatory questions?? That's right. I used to want to be an investigative journalist.

I would have been amazing.

Just kidding. I would have completely sucked. I am the most unobservant person ever. Just ask my husband.

It all makes sense now. I mean, before, a journalist sounded so much more glamorous than a novelist.

Okay. Moment of truth. Journalism sounded infinitely easier than trying to make a living off writing full length books. Penning a 500 word article seemed so simple compared to 100,000 words to finish a book.

Now that I'm on this side of my life... I'm pretty sure I had no idea what I was talking about. Turns out taking 100k words to make a point is a hell of a lot easier than turning 500 measly words into something worth reading.

For real.

Perspective. Am I right???

Anyway. That's not the point of this blog.

Actually. If you're looking for a point, you're so not going to find one.

I'm not even kidding a little bit.

Maybe I should give you some history?

Yes. Let's start there.

I wrote my first book in 2007.

Sometimes I feel like 2007 was yesterday... but actually it was eight whole years ago. Crazy, right?? That's almost a decade!

But eight years ago, almost to the day, I started my first book that I was positive was going to become a New York Times bestseller. I really thought that it was the best piece of fiction to ever grace the Young Adult Market.

Turns out... it was not. And that book will never surface from the dark, unfathomable depths I have banished it too.

I'm doing this for you. It's my favor to you because I love you so much.

Oy. That book.

The point is, back then, I didn't have all of these incredible publishing options at my fingertips. There was only one way to get published back then. And it was nearly impossible to get picked up by an agent, editor or (back then) Big 6 Publisher.

Especially right after the economy collapsed and publishing houses were some of the hardest hit by the recession.

(Side note: Just so we're clear, we could have been at the very pinnacle of publishing where publishing houses accepted manuscripts in the boatloads and that book still would have been buried in the slush pile. Believe. That book is bad.)

But all of that to say, I didn't have insta-luck or even mild interest in 2007. Or in 2009-2011 when I tried again with a different book. (the book you know today as Reckless Magic.)

Instead, I got a lot of rejection notices. And when I say a lot... I mean hundreds of them.

Most of them were form letters sent out to writers who are not even good enough to garner a second glance. But some. And by some, I mean three. Those three letters changed my life. They were sent by not aids or assistants but by actual agents. And God bless them.. but they saw some potential in me.

Or were at least gracious enough to let me think they had.

They didn't just tell me no. They told me no with help. They critiqued the pages I had sent in and suggested changes.

It changed the way I wrote and my perspective on my voice.

It also fueled the very dim fire of this dream that I was starting to believe was more of a case of mistaken identity. I maybe could be a writer... I maybe wasn't a hopeless cause... This whole thing maybe wasn't something I had ripped off a cute, sappy chick flick that promised long lunches with girlfriends in equally exciting, but vastly different fields and fabulous shoes.

This was real. And I wanted it.

So when I wasn't writing, I spent my time researching. I researched the ever-living-crap out of how to get published. And then I did everything that research told me to do.

I kept writing and writing and writing. I kept editing and editing and editing. I kept reading and reading and reading. I set up a Twitter account. And. I set up a blog.

Ah. My blog.

Onedaysomedayeveryday.blogspot.com. That was the title.

See what I did there?

At first it was all about exposure. And getting my name out there. It was about practicing to write and finding my unique voice and the specific spin I like to use when telling a story.

But it quickly turned into something more. It was fun. It was my life documented.

It was beautiful.

Now I think of that time like the good old days. The simple days. The I-did-what-I-want days. :)

Eventually, it all faded. People were more interested in book news than they were about my kids or how crazy I am. There was this pressure to become a professional and let go of some of my upfront honesty that can at times be jarring. :) Then I ran out of time. The kids got older and more needy. Our house got bigger and took more work. There was more laundry. More running around to activities and school and the grocery story. There was more LIFE. And more projects.

So many writing projects.

And then, in the spirit of honesty, there just was not the energy left to pour into something else. I stopped having the brain space to turn silly moments into funny stories. I could hardly remember my name at the end of the day, let alone an anecdote anyone would be interested in reading.

There was pressure in that too. Because people like my books so much... my books that take me months to write and are polished by an editor and I've already had feedback by my betas and so forth and so on... that those same people might read these blog posts and realize that I am in fact... a hack.

There is no real talent here. I'm actually a Jedi knight that has tricked you into thinking you like my work.

*Waves hands* This is not the book you're looking for.

Also... Sarcasm doesn't always travel well via the internet. And sometimes that would turn out bad for me.

Actually. Maybe I should just say. TAKE THIS ALL WITH A GRAIN OF SALT. 

I'm rarely ever serious. And if I am serious, I will let you know.

In a major way.

Mostly, when I blog for me, it's just like this great big DEAR DIARY. Or in this case, DEAR KNOWN AND UNKNOWN INTERNET UNIVERSE...

It's like therapy. I just need to say this. I just need to get it out in the open. Then I move on with my day.

Therapy. Right.

If therapy were like sitting on a stage in front of an auditorium full of onlookers and there was no confidentiality contract.

So, sure. Therapy.

I want to change how I'm running this whole blog thing. I'm kind of making a lot of changes in how I've been running this career. What I'm doing now? Yeah, it's not working for me. Not even a little bit.

I am not going to get into it today, but probably if you stick around long enough, I will. At some point. But the short version is that I need to flip this career. This is my dream job and I want it to feel like a dream job. I want to love what I do and be so passionate about it that I cannot stop writing.

I am like that in a lot of ways. But I've also given up a lot. I'm taking steps to reclaim those things I miss.

Blogging for Fun is one of those things. Consider this Step Number Two in Rachel Taking Control of Her Writing.

The first was the whole no-deadlines thing. I didn't have that ridiculous super cool title yet though.

And that... Yes, that never-ending intro brings us to my point for the evening.

Me. I'm the point.

Er, not me exactly. My reading habits. And how terrible they are.

For as long as I can remember I have loved to read. More than anything. It's my favorite hobby. It's what I will choose to do above anything else. It's what inspired me to become a writer. And it's helped shaped who I am today.

That being said... I'm not very good at it.

In fact, I don't know anyone else who is as bad as me.

And I don't just mean because of how slow I am. Because, for real, I am a SLOW reader.

I'm okay with it though. I prefer to savor each word. I don't just want to read a sentence. I want to experience it. I want to submerge myself in it and become it. I want to know that I absorbed each word as I was meant to and that I'll remember it. That I'll take it with me and keep it forever.

I've been like that my entire life.

Being slow is actually something I kind of enjoy. I don't really want to change it.

But... the other ways are something I think I should probably maybe potentially definitely change.

For instance, I'm a really really bad finisher.

I rarely finish a book. And by that... I mean, really rarely. The last book I read all the way through was Throne of Glass and I read it at the beginning of January.

Yep.

And not only that, but I didn't skim any of it! (Skimming to the end is something I'm super guilty of as well.) .

So that was like... four months ago.

And I haven't read another book all the way through since.

My Kindle is filled with books that have made it to 34% or 17% or 76% or... 6%. I hardly ever see the 100% mark.

It's not the boo's fault. It's ALL me. I have picked up books by authors I LOVE and WANT TO BE and abandon them at 45%. I have abandoned books that I STILL think about and mildly wonder what happened at the end.

There is no rhyme or reason to my madness. It just happens. And it has always happened. Since I was a kid and found books that would take up hours of my time to read.

I remember going through this huge John Grisham phase where I wanted to devour every single thing he wrote. But I couldn't do it. I inhaled The Firm and The Rainmaker. Time to Kill is one of my favorites ever. And oh my goodness. The Runaway Jury!! The Chamber? It doesn't get better than that. But I could not even pretend to get interested in The Summons. Or The Brethren. Or The Associate. Um. No. And there's probably a handful more that I gave a shot but abandoned before I had even reached the Quest.

My last Grisham book was The Bleachers and it's still probably my favorite book of his ever. But what is weird is that I never went back to another Grisham book after that one. It was like I felt like I had gotten his very best and I didn't want to mess that up. I wanted to end with a high note.

My point is, I leave perfectly wonderful books all of the time. Blame my lack of focus or my persnickety taste if you want.. Sometimes I think a book does too good of a job inspiring me and I have to run off to create my own beautiful story. (Not in a plagiarizing way.. more like an I-want-to-create-something-that-makes-people-feel-this-way kind of way)

I'm also really bad at reading series. I have this thing where I read a lot of first books in the series. And then never ever ever go back.

How bad is that???

I love the first book. Just like I LOVE the meet cute. I love when the couple first meets. I love how they fall for each other. I love the angst of the beginning! But then as soon as they get together, I AM OUT.

I throw up the peace sign and I get the hell out of dodge.

It's like that with the first books in a series too. I love getting to know a world and dipping my toes in the water. I love all of the mystery and early excitement. But then I'm good.

Rarely do I find that the rest of the books live up to that first perfect story that drew me in so irrevocably.

If you haven't noticed, this philosophy has kind of shaped my writing style. I never want to hear that the first book in any of my series was the best. I want it to be the beginning. The start. The jumping off point. But I don't want it to be the best. I want the series to keep getting better and better and better. I want you to grow with the characters and fall so deeply into their world, you're not sure if you'll be able to find your way out.

I want you to feel like with each book you're getting a better and better story line. That's my ultimate goal.

So even though I'm dying to read the rest in lots of different series, I don't ever go back for more.

See? I'm a bad reader. And those reasons are just scratching the surface.

It's not good. And it's only getting worse.

So I've decided to take steps to fix this. I don't want to be a bad reader. I want to be a good reader. I want to be the best reader.

I realized a huge part of my problem today. I had somewhat of an epiphany while sitting in the DMV for an hour, waiting to renew a driver's license that expired in February, with two rambunctious boys running circles around my feet.

Yep. It was DMV hell.

I can't complain too much because I did have this epiphany and it's kind of a big one. So for this reason alone, the DMV was worth it today.

Before I was a writer, my genre of choice was YA Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi. I would pick that above everything else.

But then I started to write all of that. (Seriously... ALL OF THAT.)

And so I cut myself off. I went into self-imposed exile to preserve my writing.

I told myself that in order to protect myself and make sure my writing was absolutely unique, I should only read outside of the genres I'm currently writing in. Well, then that turned into staying away from the genres I have open projects in. Then that turned into this weird place where the only books that didn't fall into some category I happened to have a project with were Shifter books, MC books and weird zoological erotica books.

Okay... I'm exaggerating. I never got into any Sasquatch porn.

Er, not yet anyway. :)

I denied myself the stories I really liked and then couldn't figure out why I couldn't finish anything I picked up. My reading has truly felt lost for the past couple of years.

Which is SO wrong. I can't stand it.

I don't know what I was thinking.

Obviously, I wasn't.

No, that's not true. The problem was that I was thinking too much.

I need to chill out. I need to take a step back and take a breath. I need to read everything that calls to me and anything that pulls me in. I need to be free to make choices out of pure pleasure-reading and that have nothing to do with writing.

I need to turn off the job sometimes and let myself be a fan too.

It's so simple and yet it's taken me a really long time to figure out.

But that's what you can expect from me. I'm going to be reading more. Reading more books I want to read.

That's kind of huge for me.

It might mean some good recs for you guys though?? So it's not all bad, right? :)

Final thought.

If you made it this far, thanks for indulging my blogging whim. Unfortunately, I think you can expect a whole lot more of these.

I mean, my 4 year old was shouting at a person yesterday because they wore a black and white striped shirt and Stryker thought they were an escaped "Jail Person."

He told me all Jail People dress like that.

When I asked him how they escaped Jail, he told me, "With their Jail Persons' guns," like it was the most obvious answer in the world.

Then I asked him how he knew all of this and he told me... Minecraft.

So, thanks for that Minecraft.

How can I keep those gems to myself??? :)

And by gems, I obviously mean Motherhood Trauma.








4.10.2015

Hey-O!!!!! It's Parker Friday!!!!!!

Are you excited for Episode 9???

I'll post as soon as it's live. It just isn't live yet. But it will be soon!!!!!!

Also... The Heart!!! I'm still finishing it up. I am on the last lap... but I just haven't reached the finish line yet.

I will keep you posted and have some more teasers for you next week!! I'm really really excited for this book. I hate that it's taking so long, but I want it to be the best book for the end of this series. And I'm hoping I'm on the right track.

That leads me to this blog and what I want to talk about.

So, most of you that follow me know that I have a huge issue with getting books out on time! I could give you the spiel that I have four little kids or that I have way too many projects going on or that Love and Decay TAKES OVER MY LIFE when I'm in the middle of a Season and it's impossible to get anything done...!!!!

But the truth is, I'm a late person by nature. I am late to every function I ever try to attend. I'm late to church. To drop my kids off at school. To dinner with friends. To important meetings. To life in general.

I'm even late to my own house when I host things!!!!

When I was in college I went on academic probation my freshman year because I was late to curfew too many times. In fact, during my sophomore year, I had to have meetings with the Dean of Women and an RA to "talk" about my lateness.

I went to this small Christian college and so the Dean of Women spent an entire semester telling me how being late is a sin.

Yep.

And guess what??? It did not help anything!

I'm later now than ever.

Also, thankfully, I believe in a God that is merciful and forgiving and loves me because of my lateness.

I try guys. It's one of those things I am CONSTANTLY working on. I make it a New Year's Resolution every stinking year. I just hate that I can't get to places or get things done on time.

But I'm also 32. It's time to embrace the realization this might not ever change about me. I might just be stuck as this person.

Where it really bothers me though is with books and releasing them. I hate that they're often late and that I constantly seem to be moving release dates around.

It's frustrating for you and it's devastating for me. And let's be real, it's just not working.

I can't even take my own release dates seriously anymore... and that's saying something.

And it's not saying something good.

So, after a lot of thought and contemplation, after throwing the idea at my Panel(Who by the way were all like, Uh, why didn't you do this sooner???) and my agent and my husband(Who also by the way was all... Ugh.... Rachel...... Just do whatever you think is best....) (Clearly he could not be bothered by my epiphany.) I have decided to stop giving release dates.

Say what???

Yep. They're gone. I'm throwing them ALL out the window. You shall not get a release date from me ever again!!!!!!!!!

Well, okay... that's not exactly true. But for the most part, I'm going to approach it by simply telling you the book I'm currently working on. Once I finish the book and get it edited, then I'll assign a release date and let you know when you can get it in your hands!!

That doesn't mean you'll never get to hear about the book until it's finished. I'll definitely keep you updated through the whole process, posting teasers and excepts and landmarks. I think I'll be more open about each project because I won't feel the pressure that I needed it done three months ago and what the heck am I DOING WITH MY LIFE.

I just think it will be better for all of us.

I will keep a couple of release dates throughout the year. Those would be Love and Decay. You'll always know when to expect those because of the two week release schedule.

Also, since adult contemporary is new to me, I plan to keep those release dates set in stone while I build an audience over there. My next adult contemporary is due September 22nd... in case you want to write that one on the calender. :)

So now instead of picking specific months to release in, I'm going to give you a release schedule that has the books in order of how I'm working on them. That way you'll know what to expect of the book you're waiting on.

Here is a tentative list of what I have so far:

1. The Heart (3rd book in the Siren Series)
2. Bet on Me (2nd book in the Bet on Love series)
3. Every Wrong Reason (Adult Contemporary Romance, September 22nd)
4. Heir of Empyrial Fire (4th book in the Starbright Series)
5. Bet on Love (3rd book in the Bet on Love series)
6. Love and Decay, Season Four (Starts December 4th)
7. Next Adult Contemp... Not yet named.
8. Heir of Realms (5th book in the Starbright Series)
9. Bet on Forever (4th book in the Bet on Love series)

That's it so far!!! Hope that all makes sense!! I'm still going to be working just as hard, I'm just hopefully taking away the disappointment! :) Thanks for sticking we me!!!!! <3 p="">

3.31.2015

Today is the last day of March and I'm sitting here wondering where the month went.

How does one lose an entire month anyway?? I feel like at one point I was in February. I even made it to the last day. There I was... standing on February 28th. Then I took a step forward. Only instead of landing in March, I accidentally tripped straight into a time warp and suddenly it's April and I can't figure out how I got here!

Does that ever happen to anyone else???

No? It's just me then?

Bummer.

:)

But for real. March was packed to the brim with craziness for me. I crashed my husband's snowboarding trip to Colorado to get some writing done and whilst there I broke out of an epic case of writer's block. I had a literal mountaintop experience. My great aunt passed away. She was one of the most beautiful, genuine people I have ever known. She was 102, which is an incredible amount of years to live. But what is even more amazing is that she lived each of those 102 years with constant grace and poise. She is in a much better place now, but she is missed. I threw a baby shower for my sister in law. I celebrated Easter with my side of the family. I got my taxes done. (Which is such an immense project I can't even think about it without hyperventilating.) And I somehow got so behind on life, I'm not sure I'll ever catch up.

I'm a little bit exhausted. And a lot bit relieved to be headed into April.

So what's new since I haven't blogged in... FOREVER?

The Heart is late. If you've missed all of my other announcements... Yep. It's late. I'm working so hard on it! I just haven't fished it yet. I love it so much and I cannot wait to get it to you... but it's going to take me a bit to finish it and get it ready for release. I haven't added a release date yet because basically I don't want to have to change it again. But it's my top priority. It will be done soon!

Love and Decay, Season Three only has four more episodes left!!!!!! Can you believe it?? I cannot. At all. This season has gone by so fast.

If you missed my announcement before, I just wanted to remind you that Love and Decay IS continuing beyond Season Three!!! I am planning for at least two more seasons!!!! Although, Reagan will no longer be the narrator. I'll be giving you more details on what you can expect in the future for L&D once the season ends!!!

The last thing that I wanted to talk about today was Reckless Magic!!!!

Reckless Magic turned four this month!!!!

March, 11th marks my first book birthday ever!!!!!!

I happened to celebrate it by driving from Colorado to Nebraska this year and completely forgot about.. And since then I've been meaning to blog about it every day.

But, ahem, here we are. The last day of the month.

Still, I thought it was at least worth a mention!!!

I cannot believe I've been on this adventure for four years! Part of me feels like I'm still that brand new amateur that has no idea what she's doing. Actually, most of me feels that way. The other part is convinced I've been publishing since the beginning of time.

:)

When I think back over all of my ups and downs, my highs and lows, the incredible learning curve that never seems to plateau, the life-long friends I've made and the impact this writing thing has made on my life, I am overwhelmed.

But in the best way possible.

This job is crazy. It has the absolute highest highs. There is nothing like finishing a book. A whole book. That I wrote on my own! And then when I finally find the courage to publish it and people like it....? Some people even love those books... I mean... I am convinced that is one of the very best things in the entire world. In the entire universe.

It also has some of the lowest lows. I honestly didn't know I could feel this insecure. Or this amount of panic. The emotional battle I fight to create and to keep creating can be, at times, exhausting. It can be debilitating.

I didn't know I could love something this much that wasn't my husband or my kids or a person. And with that fierce emotion comes the greatest fear. Not that I won't make money or that I won't be able to go places with my career. Those things are secondary to the fear of pouring myself into something in an authentic, genuine way that exposes who I am and how I think.

Reckless Magic has been live for four years, but my publishing journey started four years before that. And over these years, I've been on this constant journey of self-discovery. Writing stretches me in ways that I don't always want to be stretched or in ways I don't think I'll be able to stand. It betters me as a person. It makes me feel healthy. As in mentally. My ass would so disagree that writing has any benefits for my body. :)

It has become a pillar of who I am and who I want to be.

Rachel Higginson, who are you? I am a child of God. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am an author.

And that is nearly all there is to me. Not that those facets are simple. They stretch wide and reach deep. They encompass infinity. At least my infinity. I am the sum and they are my parts.

If you would have told me four years ago, when, with trembling hands and tearful eyes, I pressed publish on that first book that this is where I would be today... I would not have believed you.

I truly wouldn't have.

My goal in self-publishing was to have my books cover one of our expenses. I was a stay at home mom of three small children at the time and I thought, if I could just cover one bill, if I could just make our lives easier with just this one small thing, that would be enough for me.

And yet? Here we are.

I am blessed beyond words. I am blessed beyond thoughts and emotions and whatever other ways there are to think and feel. I am daily blown away that my books, these pieces of me, these portions of my soul and pictures of my imagination, have readers and people that love them. People that want more of them.

People that care about them as much as I do.

Thank you for giving me that. Thank you for turning my dream into a reality. Thank you for falling in love with my characters and thinking of them as people worth loving.    

When people ask me if this is my dream job, I tell them it's the dream job of my dream job. It's so far beyond my dream job that I don't even know how to explain it. Is this my dream job? Absolutely. But dreams are inadequate to describe how much this means to me or how badly I wanted it. How badly I still want it.

It's not easy. Not by any means.

In fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever done.

But the best things in life take the most work and I have come to love and respect that.

I actually keep expecting it to get easier. At the same time, I'm learning that is a foolish expectation and I should just give up on it. :) And that's okay. I would get bored if this wasn't a challenge. Or if it didn't keep pushing me, forcing me to grow and mature.

Something has to!

This year was the hardest yet, so I'm a little nervous to go into my fifth year!

I faced hard lessons this year. I learned that I cannot just write whatever I want whenever I want. Sometimes my life gets in the way and puts me behind schedule. Sometimes it's my brain that gets in the way.

I learned that I might always always always be late with deadlines. It's the thing that bothers me the most, I think. I always want to get to that one point where I can get ahead, where I won't be behind on every single thing in my writing world and in my life world. I set goals for myself that I fail. I block out time that comes and goes and I didn't nearly reach the impossible deadline that I set for myself. I get writer's block so thick and jarring that I think I'll never write again. (That happened to me this year after I finished 5 Stages.) Sometimes, not nearly enough, but sometimes I realize that having a job that allows me to stay home with my kids means that I probably shouldn't ignore those same kids I work so hard to stay home for. I remembered that I would rather make beautiful words instead of rushed sentences, complex plots instead of easy ones, impacting stories instead of forgettable ones.

I am my biggest enemy when it comes to my career. I think that was the hardest lesson of all. I get in my own way. I am the only one holding back when it's time to push publish and my fears are so blinding that I can't make myself click the silly button. I can self-destruct as easy as I can celebrate. I can flail and fall as quickly as I can rise and soar.

But that's okay.

Like I said, if this job was easy, I would have moved on to the next thing already. The challenge is part of the drive. The competition I feel with myself is part of the joy.

And this year I accomplished more and have more to be proud of than ever.

I published four full-length books this year. Which is about my max. I published Season Two and most of Season Three of Love and Decay. I co-authored a book. I wrote The Five Stages of Falling in Love, which is by far the hardest, most emotional book I've ever taken on. I overcame some serious writer's block. And I've kept up with Love and Decay this season!! Not one episode has been late.

Later in the day maybe... but not after the day.

But the most important thing to me is that I can stand beside all of the books that I've published and be proud of them. Each book turned out like I wanted it to. Each book became something beyond my vision and imagination. It became real.

They became something lasting.

This year I have learned more about myself than I wanted to know. :) I've felt my wings flex and stretch. I've let go of my some of my attachment to adverbs and the passive voice. I've tried not to bore you with descriptions and have every male character smirk from beginning to end. I've written "I love you" at least fifty different ways and at least a hundred different make-out scenes. I've created characters you love and characters you hate and even some that you both love and hate! I've fine-tuned some genres and entered into all new ones. I've used words I've never used before and I even wrote my very first sex scene. (Let's just never talk about it in real life. Ever.)

I've grown. I've learned. And I've had so much fun.

I say I'm scared of Year Five. But I'm also excited. I cannot wait to see what this year brings and where it will take me.

Thank you for sticking with me over the years and through the years to come!!! I would not be here without you and your support.

I would be someone else completely.

Last year, I wrote my out my journey into publishing and the long road it took me to get to Reckless Magic. If you're interested in that, you can check it out HERE!!!