Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Meditations: Close the Batch

For a stretch of about three years, I found myself in banking. Strange because I’m horrible at math. I did, however, love people, which made me good at costumer service. I like my job but more than that, it taught me an important lesson.

Close the batch.

Because of the way banking is structured, a day’s work included two dates: the current date and the next day’s date after 3pm. It was, therefore, very important to make sure that all the work from one day was done before the work for the next day could begin. It was called “closing the batch”. Closing the batch meant finalizing all the transitions in that batch.

There were times, on occasion, that a teller didn’t finalize all their transitions. Talk about disastrous results, especially after the 3pm deadline. It took a good bit of time to got back, reopen the batch, finish the uncompleted transitions, and then open the new batch. And all this had to be done under manager supervision. Closing the batch became symbolic of moving forward. It also highlighted the danger of carrying unfinished or unresolved things into a new day.

This is a good lesson that is particularly relevant for this time of year when most people are making resolutions of what they are going to do different. Many of them fail because they haven’t done one important thing: closed the batch from last year.

Past issues cannot be carried into the New Year. Neither can sins and unhealthy habits.  These things need to be resolved before one can have any hope in moving forward in the new things God wants to reveal for 2013. We must make sure we close the batch, because if not, these old issues will poison the freshness of a new year.

So how do you close a batch of a year and start a new one? Philippians 3:13-14. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

We must forget old mindsets, failures, setbacks and repent of our sins and press forward. That forgetting may include forgiving those who hurt us, renewing our mind against negative self-talk or being reconciled to our brothers and sisters in Christ. For some, we simplify need to live in God’s exchange rate and receive beauty for ashes and joy for pain.  Whatever it is, we must be diligent in closing the batch.

This whole process begins with prayer. Ask God what areas have left things undone. He is faithful to show you exactly which “transitions” you have to complete. Don’t let the problems of your past impact your new year. Close the batch.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I'm Featured on RG2E Today!

I'm being featured on RG2E. Check out my post, How Far Would You Go?

What's the strangest thing you've done for the sake of reading? Post your story in the comments!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I've been tagged by Ronie Kendig. This was a good exercise to build some momentum for writing this story. 

The rules of the blog hop:
  • Mention who tagged you, and link to their post.
  • Give the rules.
  • Answer the ten questions below.
  • Link to several more people

1. What is the title of your next book? 
Tentatively, it’s Love Simplified, Too but I’m sure that’s bound to change.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
It is the sequel to my first novel, Love Simplified. For a while I was considering writing three standalone books in this series. When I mentioned this to my friend and editor, Linda Sothern, she complained that all the romance books end with the main characters engaged, but they never showed how the marriage worked out. That’s when I decided to write another book with the same cast of characters.   

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Hrithik Roshan
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Zoe Saldana
This is a hard one. I actually don’t like casting actors for my characters because everyone has their own image of what characters looks like. But if I had to say, Tempest would be played by Zoe Saladene and Lance would be played by a Bollywood actor named Hrithik Roshan. I’d love to hear from those who’ve read Love Simplified and get their opinion.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Love is not simple for Tempest Day, and she will soon discover that marriage is even harder.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be self-pubbing this one…unless some miracle happens and someone buys this one and the first one. I doubt it since I’m not querying it to agents or editors.  

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
 Haven’t finished the first draft yet and it’s been in the works for a couple of months now. I hope to finish it by April.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man or any book in the Amanda Bell Series.  I so admire Claudia Mair Burney’s voice. And readers can always pick up the first book in this series. 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ll have to start with what inspired me to write the first book in this series, since the story continues in my next book.

Reality TV inspired me. Late one night, I was watching a show that featured a life coach helping people through their problems. As I watched, I thought, she [the life coach] probably has bigger problems than they people she’s trying to help. On another occasion, I was watching a different reality TV show and thought, What kind of crazy would you have to be to expose your private life on TV? What kind of person would do that? Most importantly, what would be a legitimate reason for going on a reality TV show? Those two sets of quests combined in my head and I was off and running.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
 It will be a hilarious After Happily Ever After story. I am aiming for a late spring release (May-June timeframe), so stay tuned to this blog and Facebook page (Author Terri J. Haynes) for updates. 

Now for the tagging: 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Am a Grown Woman

Motivation comes from the strangest places.

One day I had sat down to write, but I wasn’t “feeling” it. That’s my term for when my muse has left me, when I’m uninspired, the well of words has run dry… you get the point. As much as I would have like to wait until all was right with my universe before I started writing, I couldn’t. I was on a deadline.

But that didn’t stop me from whining about how I didn’t think the writing would be good or if it was the best I could do. And after a little while, I realized how childish I was acting. I sounded more like a three year old instead of a woman over thirty. I was acting like a baby. At that moment of revelation, I said out loud, “I am a grown woman.” Surprising, this admission was exactly what I needed to get moving because I am a grown woman.

How silly must I sound to be whining about the things I need to get done? Grown women take responsibility for their lives. Grown women realize that things may get challenging but that doesn’t mean they get to shrink away from life. Grown women get things done. Grown women don’t wait for the best of conditions. We work with what we got and do our best. And I am a grown woman.

That has become my motto of late. Not just when I need motivation to write, but when I find childishness sneaking into my behavior. When I hear myself make that statement, I know it’s time to put on my big girl panties and move past whatever tantrum I’m throwing.

I am a grown woman and I’m determined to act like it.