my sister in law embarked on a christmas challenge last year and she has just recommitted, to do the same crazy thing again: something christmassy with her kids each day from the 1st till the 25th of december.

It’s about making time and being intentional about doing stuff with your kids, and of course, it’s about christmas! And I thought – yeah, let’s do it too. So tomorrow we will begin, probably with something a bit weak-sauce like a christmas story, but great creativity and barrels (or perhaps mangers-full) of fun will ensue.

Promise. Probably.

The lights are still off in Antony, but fingers crossed that will be remedied soon. Or else we might have to go to the Champs Elysee toute suite!

My theme today is stepping up and so there’s the first thing: stepping up to a challenge of creativity, and I also like the intentionality of spending time with the kids, doing creative and new things.

Number two: stepping up by submitting my writing… eek. I want to be a writer but it seems that I will also have to hone my sales skills and market both myself and my writing. Which is much more scary and a bit less fun than creating characters who are doomed to fall in love and be miserable for a while before they get themselves together. (How’s that for a basic romance plot outline, eh?)

So I’ve been submitting to agents, and possibly the wrong ones because despite their promises to respond, even if it’s with a brief, stock rejection, within a few months, I’ve heard zip. Since June. I know that puts me well within my rights to chase them up but I think I’ll take it as a less than gracious refusal and say it might not be the best use of my time to chase them up for a slightly more gracious one.

The novel I’m shopping is a genre romance, mills&boon style, and so I’ve decided to submit direct to a romance publisher. From what I’ve read elsewhere, getting published is more difficult, and less lucrative, without an agent, but there’s a sort of evil catch 22 about the whole thing:

agents want published writers; publishers want agented writers.

Gah! So, here’s hoping I can get this wee novel published and even if the deal isn’t crash hot it might lead to a brighter future for my other novels.

Of which there are now five. (And then there were five!) Nanowrimo finishes today and so do I.

I’m well on my way to 60 thousand and this afternoon while Louis is at halte garderie I’m going to finish this b****.

Number three: stepping up to make friends. Ah, it’s a scary world and there are all sorts of people, and the chances of bumping into those with loads in common,who speak the same language and live in the same town, who you actually like, and who actually like you, seems not all that likely.

But what do you know? I bumped into a fellow kiwi at Louis’ halte garderie and we went to their place for dinner on Monday night and then later she invited me to a group french lesson. At the french lesson yesterday I met a load of other english speakers and I feel like I’ve stumbled onto a gold mine of kindred spirits – expats with a slowly-increasing grasp of the french language, with young kids and family far away, who all appear to love food (if the general response to the carrot cup cakes, served at the lesson, is anything to go by) and creative stuff… they’re all wives/partners of rugby players and I am a bit clueless about sport, but there you go: friends and french lessons in one!

There’s that awkward moment after you meet where one suggests getting together some time and the other responds enthusiastically, and perhaps it’s all just good manners and obligation and faff like that, but hurrah! for the click, the connect, the moments when you realise there’s loads you have in common and you could talk for hours and hours, and your kids will entertain one another, and so will your husbands…

So, here’s little miss positivity (that’s me, the slightly-annoying one) saying step up! It’s a bit risky: you might fail utterly, get rejected and have no friends. But that doesn’t seem likely. If you read all the way till the end of this blog post then you have at least one important quality: staying-power!

2 thoughts to “step up, step up!

  • Rachel

    Great idea to do something about christmas everyday between now and christmas.I bought a gorgeous wooden tree advent calendar and have filled it with lollies and will open a window every day between now and Christmas with the kids. A great way to do something Christmassy every day. Also the shops here are fill of lovely ceramic nativity scenes we have set one up and the kids love rearranging Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. There are also a few good email Santa websites where you can email Santa and he’ll send you a reply. On you can watch a video of Santa replying to our email – my kids loved it.

    Glad you are putting yourself out there and making friends I know that it is hard.

  • Fern

    Hooray for a whole month of Christmas! I’m so happy that someone out there wants to do it with me.
    Don’t make too many friends or you might never come home! We miss you, and I’m dying to meet my one and only niece!

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