My first year in college I wasn't a stellar student. I was there on a partial scholarship and in order to keep the scholarship, I had to maintain a 3.9 GPA. Ha! Nope. Didn't come close. Could I have come close if, say, I'd tried? Sure. But I was so caught up in being a freshman and mooning over my boyfriend back home and being jealous of my roommate and her eight dates per weekend and . . . okay, so those were my main reasons for being so pathetic freshman year. But they weren't reasons at all, really. They were excuses.
Sophomore year, I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment. And I got a job: Subway. I came home reeking of onions every day, my nails yellow from mustard, annoyed by my boss walking behind me with her stopwatch, confused by the guy with five fingers on each hand (no thumbs; so weird but probably worthy of a separate post), and worried that tomorrow would be the day I'd lose my own fingers in the meat slicer.
However, what I got out of the job (besides cheap sandwiches and the worst date of my life) was the realization that the busier I was, the more on top of things I felt. Because I had to schedule my classes, my homework, my social life, and my work hours, I fared much better that year than the previous one--not just academically but in all areas. If I only had two hours to study for my English exam, I studied those two hours because I knew I couldn't put it off until later. "Later" was already booked with a movie night with my best friend or an hour to clean the apartment or just some alone time.
But that's not the point.
I have been so crazy busy this last month or so that I fall into panic mode roughly four times a day. My clients have been ridiculously prolific lately, which means I always have projects waiting for my edits. I've been editing my own writing, as well as completely revising it and starting a new story. Or two. It's Christmas time, in case you hadn't noticed, so I've been shopping for my family, even wrapping a few gifts and getting them in the mail. I chose this year, for some unknown reason, to make my mother's present--top secret and still unfinished. I have cookies in the oven right now that I'm taking to church tonight for the youth to decorate. Piano lessons for two sons today. A Christmas concert tomorrow morning. A dentist appointment tomorrow afternoon. A child's classroom party on Friday. And my anniversary. See? Not even enough time for complete sentences. But life is good . . . really good.
When I was bored as a child, my mother always said, "Only boring people are bored."
And now I'd like to get to my point.
I've been making time for reading in spite of my busy schedule. I have a book in the car for when I'm waiting for a child to finish one activity or another. And I have one by my bed so I can read a chapter before falling asleep at night. Both of these books are YA bestsellers at the moment. The one in the car, however, is (in my opinion) boring. Why? Because the main character isn't doing enough. She's mooning over someone she's lost. She's wandering around aimlessly, waiting for her life to change--or waiting for someone to change it for her. She's watching other people live their lives. She's biding her time, and I'm thinking she's going to lose her scholarship before the semester ends.
The bedtime book, on the other hand, is keeping my interest--so much so, in fact, that it's a good thing it's upstairs or I'd be picking it up to read during the day when I know I don't have the time. The MC isn't waiting for something to happen; he's making it happen. He's going after what he wants. He's going to school. He's going after the girl. He's trying to figure out how to live his life. And he's believable and sympathetic for all of these reasons. Oh . . . and not the least bit boring.
If you're a writer, is your MC keeping his or her scholarship? And if you're not a writer, are you keeping your scholarship?