Writing in November

dream timeLife is weird. Life is also busy. It is now November. I have two sick kids who are on the mend and I really just want to take a nap right now. I slept well last night, aside from strange dreams, but I feel like I need an extra thirty-minute nap or something to reach fully recharged. I think these days that is a permanent feeling. I am always a nap away from not being tired but I never actually get the nap.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Three days ago NanoWriMo kicked off and thousands of people out there are furiously writing away at what will hopefully be a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. My friend Lori is giving it a shot. I have competed against time and life to write that 50,000-word novel in a month before too. I am considering doing it again. Only this time I think I will give myself a break. I mean I did just finish a book. Not quite a 50,000-word novel, but a book none the less.

I think I will write a book of short stories. There are hundreds of writing prompts you_fail_only_if_you_stop_writingfloating around out there so I can just pick one or two a day and write a bunch of short fictional narrations that will eventually add up to the necessary word count.  That is the tentative plan. I also have another book idea but I have so many writing irons in the fire I really don’t want to chase after another long project right now.

If anyone out there wants to hop on board the National Novel Writing Month train, I have provided links to the website. It is fun and challenging, especially if you have never done it before. I am just giving it a shot for fun. I know I can write a novel in a month if I need to so I am not as worried about if  I can. I am just writing to support my friend in her endeavors as she runs the race and to enjoy writing just for writing’s sake. Who knows, maybe I can churn out something useful by the end.

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To write a book…

charlie-chaplin-392926_1280When I was in school I hated American History. I thought it was boring. I thought that since other countries had been around so much longer, they were obviously much more interesting.

Now that I am older, I am no longer so excluding. For the past few weeks I’ve been focused on the American Civil War. My attention was peaked last year when I did some family history research. It was more recently that I received a book of local ghost stories that pinged that interest again.

Then I spoke with another writer who I greatly admire. I told him that I had been thinking about writing a book that takes place during the civil war. I recounted what I had found out about my family, and he said: That sounds like a good place to start. Why don’t you?

That “Why don’t you?” Has been echoing around the empty cavern of my skull for weeks.

I tried to use the excuse, “Well, life has so many changes going on right now, with the new job and going back to school…”

My inner writer answered with, “You don’t work on the weekends and part of your degree is going to be in History anyway.”

Then the dragon of self doubt raised its head and said, “Do you really think you can find anime_dragon_1024x768-634320the time to write a book? Look how well that has worked in the past. You have three unfinished novels sitting on your computer right now. And remember that rejection letter. The one that hit the mark so well.”

The dragon almost got me. Then I remembered the rejection letter it was reminding me of was the catalyst I needed to pull up my boots and march back to school. The three unfinished novels reminded me that my current way of writing isn’t working very well and I need to try something new. (Not that those three will never be finished. Two are honestly in a rewrite stage but I changed things and got stuck in the muddle in the middle. Then proceeded to wallow in the muck.)

So now, with so many things already on my plate and with so many new challenges to face, I find myself stacking yet another task on top. I’m going to write a book. Sanderson Quote-800wi

The Only Constant Is Change

doctor wibbilyThe only constant is change. I am sure that is a quote from someone much smarter than I am. I cannot recall who it may have been. It is a truth that my life feels like it is trying to prove these last couple of months though.

I lost the best boss I’ve ever had, but was able to reposition her into a ‘awesome friend‘ slot. So she isn’t gone from my life, just from that one spot. I left the job I have spent nearly 7 years of my life at. The place that ate up half of my nights every year. I left behind good friends and routine. I even stopped writing for a period of time.

I had a moment of evaluation and came to the conclusion that things were not as they indianashould be and that I was not happy. Then I came up with a plan to fix that. It sounds easy but it was not. It was terrifying. It was a doubt filled tangle of What if’s. It was a massive black hole of: But how do/will I…

Then I took a step. And then another step. I am still scooting along, one step at a time. The ground still feels unstable beneath my feet but that hasn’t stopped me yet. The changes are probably not all over yet either. I am in transitional limbo. In September or October things should feel more solid.

hobbitI have a new job now. I am still in training and have five more weeks of it to go. I love it so far. My kids are signed up for a new school. I signed up to go back to school and my classes start mid August.  I no longer work nights. I no longer have to drag stacks of totes larger than I am. I started writing again.

I have no doubt that my writing will be the slowest thing to advance simply because of all the other obligations. Not because it isn’t important, but because it is. I have to learn patience with my writing.

I get in a hurry and I often don’t do the best job I can. I want the story told. However, I also Writing-furiously[1]need to tell the story right. I need to let go of the rush, rush, get-it-done and just tell the story. It’s like turning the oven up as high as it can go. Yeah, it will cook the pizza but it probably won’t be very tasty. I want to make tasty pizzas…er stories. (I am writing this too close to dinner time.)

Anyway, the point is I am taking more time with my writing and therefore I will hopefully be churning out a better quality of fiction. As a result of this and my other obligations I may not be updating my blog as often. My normal routine has been to post once a week on Mondays. From now on it may be once a month or once every two weeks. I am not sure yet.  I will try it until I decide that the schedule doesn’t work, and then change it again. Or life will change it for me.

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Flat brain day

My brain feels flat today. Like popped balloon pancake flat. I have quiet a few things I need to get done but I really don’t want to do anything.

I could have another cup of coffee or force myself to work but I that is what I always do. It is a windy day outside with clouds racing across the sky. My daughter didn’t go to school today because neither her nor I slept well last night.

(Yes I am a horrible parent. I let my kid stay home because she was tired. I did send the other kid to school though. I don’t know if that makes things better or not.)

I think what I will do is go take a nap. Just a short one. Then I will take a walk with my daughter, sit on the porch with a cup of tea, and then I will get busy on all of the things I need to accomplish.

The plan is to gently re-inflate my brain rather than forcing the flat tire to keep rolling.

Good Review Monday

Open book magic on blackI thought a lot this weekend. My throat was sore and I had two sick kids to take care of so there really wasn’t much time for writing. I did manage to do a little but not as much as I would have liked.

I read a few writing articles and blog posts, played too much candy crush, and watched way too many cartoons. The couch became our sickly nesting ground. Even the cats joined the pile of blankets and tissues.

This post comes from those hours of sitting there with kids and cats piled on me. I couldn’t move much so it left time to think. The articles I read were about book reviewers and how there are some people out there that write bad reviews on purpose, sometimes without even reading the book. That didn’t really come as a surprise but some of the lengths gone to did surprise me. I’m not talking just one bad review here, I am talking completely trampling the author through the mud.

I really don’t understand it. I mean if you read something and it is completely awful, you should be able to express your views. However, never reading more than the blurb or the sample on Amazon and then going to every site you can to trash the book…why? Just to hurt a random person you’ve never met? Isn’t there a better way to spend your time?

*sigh* Seeing what I see on the news and at night at work, I guess humanity should surprise me anymore. I guess I’m just naive. I don’t leave many bad reviews. If I like a book I am usually more enthusiastic than if I don’t. I am also lazy.

Reviews are important to authors. They are each particular book-baby’s life line. If there are a lot of good reviews more people will read the book. If there are a lot of bad reviews then only the morbidly curious will touch it.

I would like to encourage everyone reading this post to take just five minutes and go over to goodreadsamazon, or wherever you prefer. Find a book that you have read and enjoyed and leave a review. I don’t care what the book is, it could be an edition of Alice in Wonderland that you particularly liked. Go leave a few kind words.

Feel free to leave me a link in the comments too. I am always looking for new things to read. 🙂

Thursday Is Not Monday, but here is a post

whats-your-storyIt is currently 6 a.m. on a November Thursday morning. I missed Monday’s post again. It is getting more and more difficult to post on my work week.

I may have to go down to two posts a month rather than one every week. That is something I will have to consider later. Right now it is November so that means it is Nation Novel Writing Month.

Truthfully, I did not plan on participating this year. I have so much going on I did not intend to add one more thing. That was before vampire slaying hobos happened though. (Long story.)

So now a friend of mine and I are writing novels about the same characters hoping that by the end of the month, between the two of us, we will have an actual readable book or at least a few short stories. We only have working titles right now but look for our finished project sometime in January.

Right now I have some writing to get done. Since both kids are home sick I need to get to it while they are still asleep. Have a great day everybody and happy writing!

Shooting myself in the creative foot

LibertyCon is this weekend and I am really looking forward to it.  I need a motivation boost.  I watched a movie recently, called Author’s Anonymous.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you keep it that way.

I know some people who have watched and liked it. To me it was like a two hour writer’s soul sucking vampire in digital form.  I was extremely depressed after I forced myself to watch it all the way through.  I paid money to rent it so I was too stubborn to turn the thing off like I should have.

The movie was about a writing group.  It was filmed like a camera crew following each of the characters around for a documentary.  You had the older man, a Tom Clancy wanna be. (Who hated Tom Clancy) You had they younger guy who worked two jobs and had major writer’s block and too focused on the pretty blonde girl in the group. (She was the actress who plays Penny on the show Big Bang Theory.)

There was the married couple; a bad romance writer with one manuscript and her optometrist husband who only recorded ideas for novels on a digital recorder.  Then there was the undereducated pretty blonde who lived with her mother, did nothing but write and ended up with a book contract before everyone else.

I don’t remember any of the character’s names. I could look them up but I am trying to forget the whole movie.  Really, it could be a good example of what not to do as a writer. It does a good job of portraying jealously and back biting.  The older man even falls for a Vanity Publisher.  His book turns out awful with a bad cover and the blurb in Chinese instead of English.

I still haven’t pinpointed exactly why the movie affected me so much. It felt like food poisoning only for writing.  Maybe because of the way it portrayed writers?  But then a lot of what they showed was true. Extreme versions maybe, but I have met people similar.

Maybe it’s because I can identify with some of the characters. I am educated. I read a lot. But I am not as well educated as others and I am writing in between life.  I have to work because I have kids and cats to feed and so far no one has bought any of my stories.

My goal is to be a hybrid author. To both self publish and traditionally publish. The movie certainly showed self publishing in the worst light. Vanity publishers are to be avoided. There are other ways, but those were not even mentioned.

Showing all the options is too much to be expected of a movie that is not a documentary. I do realize that. I am just trying to figure out why watching Author’s Anonymous felt like shooting myself in the creative foot.

So perhaps it is because I can see a little bits of the more vulnerable sides of my own life in three of the five main characters.  I’ve never read the Great Gatsby, I self publish, and I work a job not related to writing.  I never considered these really bad things until this movie. It made me feel like a charlatan or a fraud to call myself a writer.

And if I share faults with three of the five then what about the other two?  Are there things that I don’t see in myself?  Maybe I don’t write as well as I thought I did?

Yeah this movie really crushed my ego.  Hopefully I will be able to shake off the effects of it soon.