Friday, April 29, 2011

Cool stuff I can't do

In my Internet spelunking I come across cool writing challenges and classes that I would love to take, but can't. Some times it due to money limits, mostly it's my limited time and mental energy that can't handle doing more then I already am. But that doesn't stop me from spreading the word about them :-)

So without further adue:

This is such a cool idea. They also have 500 and 250 words a day chalanges.



Gabi (and Iggi) have some cool Do It Yourself projects and a group that I see chatting on twitter all the time. It might be too late to join this group, but it's well worth looking at and Gabi's blog is a good read as well.


Lani Diane Rich is teaching another of her fabulous classes on discovery and all the stuff you do before the actually write the book. I took her Discovery class, she's updated and improved the class since then and I really wish I could take it, but the timing is just off for me right now. Hopefully later in the year I can slip it in. Seriously though, this class is fabulous. Worth every penny.


My goal at the beginning of the month was to write 60k words. Today I hit 60,162 words (yay!).

Once I get the last two chapters finished for my critique group meeting tomorrow I'll be done for the month and I can collapse(!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Dry Well

A little late for my word count weigh in this week. I'm on track with 52,640 words so far. A couple thousand a day and I should hit 60k right on time. I'm starting to see the end of the story as well, so hopefully it won’t need much more then 60k to be done.

Then after this story is done I'm going to be taking a little vacation from writing. not a long one. I'm not running away, but I have realized with this book that I'm not a super human fiction creating machine.

I started off the year with a plan. I was so excited about this that I leapt right into it and made my first goals with no problem at all. I then did the next logical thing, I doubled my goals. In stead of getting one book edited and two more written, let's try to get two books edited and four written!

Now I'm paying the price.

At first it was fine. I was humming along, keeping right to my schedule. Then things started happening. My mom got sick and I had to go take care of her, still I got my word count done. I've had to change/increase my hours at work, still I got my allotted pages edited for that day.

Thing is, to get those pages edited and that word count goal met I had to give up other things, like watching tv (I've had the same Netflix movies sitting on my DVD player for nearly a month now), knitting and reading. All those things that are fun to do and relaxing. More then that, all those things fill my creative well.

At the beginning of my grand plan for the year I started with a full creative well that was brimming with ideas. But then I stopped filling it and now it's running dry. I'm still stubbornly typing out the last of this story, but the heart isn't there. I can feel the difference. I don't think the writing itself is all that bad, but the joy of forming it there has faded. Without that full creative well, everything gets dry and cracked. It loses its luster and shine.

So as soon as this story is done, I'm going to postpone the next project for a several week or a month and take a good long vacation. I've got a brand new Kindle and I want to make a good chunk in the list of books I've downloaded (as if I don't have enough physical books sitting on my shelf to be read). I'm going to watch as many movies as I can and finally finish knitting that sweater that I keep putting off.

Then, after I'm good and rested, I'll come back to writing, full and ready to dive in again. Sometimes not writing isn’t lazy, it’s necessary.

Friday, April 15, 2011

There is no easy way

I haven't blogged much about this, but over the past 7 or 8 months I've been working at losing weight. So far I've lost about 40 lbs. I keep running into old friends who are impressed with the changes I've made and all of them, without fail, ask me one question:

"How did you do it?"

Two things. The first is called a treadmill. Second, I learned to like salads. Yep, that's right. I'm exercising and learning to eat right.

"Oh." They reply with a disappointed sigh.

The turning point for me, when I first started trying to lose weight, was realizing that there is no "easy" way. I know people want me to tell them that I just took magic pill #53, then sat back and ate potato chips as I lost weight. That doesn't work (and for the record, I have not even tasted a potato chip in over four months now. Hopefully the twitching will go away in time ;-) ).

The same thing happens with writers. I finish a novel or complete X number of words in a day/week/month and they all ask me:

"How did you do it?"

I sat my butt in the chair and pounded on the keyboard for three or four hours every day, that's how. Just like when I'd get home from work then turn around and walk three miles on the treadmill, I made myself do it. I didn't let myself make the excuse of saying "well I just don't feel like it." Seriously, who actually LIKES getting all sweaty and nasty and out of breath? Not me. Who LIKES sitting in front of a computer for hours trying to mend a plot hole without ripping three new ones open? Not me. I would much rather have the story magically come to me and write it perfectly the first time. I'd also like to eat a whole bag of potato chips in one sitting. None of theses are realistic or healthy.

Writers are good at trying to make everything "just right". They have rituals and lucky items and special paper. I've seem people pay enormous amounts of money on computer programs that say they if you buy them then you can finally get that novel written. Like it will somehow magically do the hard stuff for you. Theses programs my help some people, but you still have to put in the work. And believe me, writing a novel is a lot of work. If anyone tells you otherwise they're a) More delusional then is healthy (even for a writer) or b) Lying through their teeth. But if you accept the fact that, at times, writing isn't going to be bliss and sunshine, that you're actually going to sweat a little, then it makes things a lot easier. You will know that when you come to a hard part and have to push through it that it's OK. That's just a natural part of writing. There's nothing wrong with you. You're not doing something wrong. You don't need that fancy new program or shiny new pill to make it all better.

Pain and struggle are just part of the proses. Push through it and keep going. Never give up. Then one day you'll go to the store and realize that you can ware pants that are three sizes smaller then the ones you wore last year or you'll look down and see the completed manuscript on your desk.

It's not magical. It's sweat and tears and some paper cuts and more then a few blisters.

Like they say: No pain no gain.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weigh In

We're in week two now of my 50k Challange. According to my chart I should have 28,000 words. As of this moment I have 26,507 words. Considering the weekend I had, that's not too bad.

The story is going well. I've almost reached the end of the rewritten part of the story. I was surprised at how much I actually kept from the first version. I changed around the location and the time line, but a good number of those early ideas fit right back in with minimal reworking. It's good to get back into writing again after a long spell at editing with my last book. It's nice to be able to just put my head down and type without worrying about all that.

Next week I'll be back (hopefully) with 42k.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Challenge

In a fit of arrogance I made a challenge to Alastair Stephens (co host of the Story Wonk Podcast). If he did Script Frenzy then I would do NaNoWriMo (50k words) in April.

Of course he accepted and I had a brief flash of "$%#@ you weren't supposed to say yes!" Then I remembered that I'm a superhuman writer and can do anything ;-) (including dyeing my hair red this weekend :-P I'll post a picture soon).

This is actually perfect timing for me. I just started rewriting "What the Night Keeps" last week. I've got all my immersion/discovery stuff done for it (see previous posts), so all I need to do is to write it. That sounds so easy until you start. This is when writing challenges can be really handy. They give you the deadlines and the structure (sadly something a lot of writers lack) to get that first draft down on paper. It also gives you someone to be accountable to. I don't know about you, but when I'm the only one who knows I'm working on some project I tend to let things slide.

And to put my word count where my mouth is, I'll be posting weekly word count updates here. If I don't you have full permission to scold me ;-)

Immersion Week Three- Collage

Ok, so I'm a little late putting this up. I got caught up in back story writing (that's week four stuff) and totally forgot. So without further adieu, the collage for "What the Night Keeps" (click on the picture to see it bigger).

And a close up shot (note: if you're wondering about the phrases here and there, those are all parts of song lyrics):

As I said, I've already tackled a good chunk of back story, so I've already started writing. So far I've got 12,642 word (woot!). I'm hoping to reach 60k by the end of April (more on this later ^_^ ).