Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Today's Mood: Hot--okay that's a physical state, but it certainly affects my mood. Our library is not air-conditioned. Today's Music: Nothing at the moment--Shawn MacDonald earlier. Today's Writing: Chapter 5 of IFFY. Today's Quote:

"A book, too, can be a star, 'explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly.'" Madeleine L'Engle quoting British Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle

Just thought I'd pass along this information on how to find writing contests. This comes from Children's Writing Resource Center.

How to Find Writing Contests
Writing contests are great ways to gain some recognition and find out exactly how you stack up against other writers. There are many, many contests these days, ranging from big national events to tiny niche competitions.
Want to find out if there's a contest you're perfectly suited to win? Try these hand-picked links....

Have you entered any writing contests? Good experience or bad? Do you think entering contests is helpful to your writing career--and I use the term career loosely since I am not giving up my day job any time soon.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The weekend

Today's Mood: a trifle giddy. Today's Music: Mix--currently it's Foreigner. Today's Writing: a poem titled (I think) Intoxicated. Today's Quote:
Some days the dragon wins. -unknown

How cool is it to have your friends get something published? Tricia did, Gloria did, Larry did. That is so awesome! PW has incredible writers and I am honored to be in such company.

As for me, I'm just plain old intoxicated with the smell and feel of summer. Only two more weeks with kids--students, not my own kids. I'll keep those. Only three more weeks until Glen Lake--and the absence of my own children for a week. And I get to sleep in the next three days in a row! Ah, life is good.

Of course, it helps that my writing is working for me. Less agony--opening a vein to bleed on paper--and more playing, more highs.

So the dragon may win on some days, but not today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hard Work

Today's Mood: Frustrated (with myself mostly). Today's Music: Pink Floyd: Wish you were here. Today's Writing: zip, zero, zilch--which is why I'm frustrated. I got sidetracked with tense, and in an effort to see what some of my favorite authors used, I started reading. That was that. Today's Quote:
This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don't consider it rejected. Consider that you've addressed it "to the editor who can appreciate my work" and it has simply come back stamped "not at this address." Just keep looking for the right address. Barbara Kingsolver


I'm shirking. Nothing else I can call it. Despite the fact that I love writing, it's hard work and I'm tired with a ton of things going on this time of year. So I find myself shirking, looking at tense instead of just writing and letting it happen. If I could just corral my damn brain! Ach, I've even got a small group session tomorrow and for the first time I have very little to bring. Usually I have way more writing than I have time for--now, I have a few poems and a paragraph. A lousy paragraph! I have got to get tough with myself and get down to business. No more sluffing off, no more "researching", or writing poetry, or blogging--oh wait, I mean, no blogging after this post. Until I write something. Like, at least two pages of my novel.

Oh man, I need Glen Lake! I need to input some creative energy rather than have the energy sucked out of me by this and that and all the things that go on this time of year. I need to chat with writers and be a writer and .... all that.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Primal poetry

Today's Mood: Reflective. Today's Music: Shawn Mcdonald: Simply Nothing. Today's writing: editing ch. 4 IFFY and two poems. Today's Quote:
"A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in.This is too much of a temptation to the editor." Ring Lardner

First, let me just make the disclaimer that I am not a poet. Nonetheless, sometimes I love to write poetry. It frees me. I think it helps get past my internal editor because of the fact that I write poetry just for me. It's like dancing naked; I don't have to do it well because no one else is going to see it--the delight is just in the doing. Poetry takes place on a more primitive level--for me anyway. Not that it isn't demanding. It is--probably more so than writing novels because I have to pack image, sound, and meaning into few words.

It does make me wonder if I would have similar freedom by working in some other--uncommon for me--genres. I might just have to give it a try next time I'm throttling my internal editor as I try to write this novel.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Change of scenery

Today's Mood: Content. Today's Music: Tori Amos- Tales of a Librarian (appropriate-don't ya think?). Today's Writing: finishing chapter 4 of IFFY--finally!!!!. Today's Quote:

"America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week." Evan Esar
There is something to be said for change. Yesterday the students in the district where I work had the day off so that all of the teachers could go to an inservice (read--usually boring and unhelpful meeting). That being the case, my morning routine of getting to school early and writing was disrupted. Instead I met up with Gloria (PW member) at the high school, and we wrote there. Wow! The writing was just flowing. So much so, that I was unhappy about quiting and attending the meeting. (of course, since I'm usually not excited about said meetings, that doesn't say much--but truly, it was WORKING. And that hasn't happened in awhile)

Now I ask you, was it the change of scenery that did it? Could it be just shaking things up a bit helped my brain to break free of the crap that was blocking my writing? Have you tried writing in a different place? Or for that matter, what IS your favorite place to write?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dreaming Time

Today's Mood: Hurried. Today's Music: Ray LaMontagne--Till the sun turns black (my effort to slow down and relax) Today's Writing: Chapter 4 of IFFY (I know. Still. But it is going--which is better than a few days ago. Alas, however, it is going very SLOWLY) Today's Quote(s): (It's a twofer day)
The fisher droppeth his net in the stream, And a hundred streams are the same as one; And the maiden dreameth her love-lit dream; And what is it all, when all is done? The net of the fisher the burden breaks, And always the dreaming the dreamer wakes. Alice Cary

And so, his senses gradually wrapt In a half sleep, he dreams of better worlds,And dreaming hears thee still, O singing lark; That singest like an angel in the clouds. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I'm in serious need of some dreaming time. You know, the lay-in-the-sun, almost dozing but mind playing scenes in your writing like movies projected across your eyelids--that kind of dreaming time. Or maybe a long drive somewhere--without kids or spouse or anyone else, for that matter. Showers are great for dreaming time, but somewhere along the line I run out of hot water and then the dreaming becomes painful and nightmarish. Walking on the beach works for me. And soft days, walking in the rain (soft days are when it is warm and rainy). Biking is good. Swimming doesn't work so well because there is the drowning factor. I don't float. I sink. So dreaming and swimming--not so much. But hot tubbing's helpful. I would say wine (or Mike's Cranberry Hard Lemonade which I am particularly fond of), but then I go beyond dreaming to actual sleeping and that isn't productive (for writing. It is, however, very productive for developing patience with children who keep interrupting my dreaming and writing.)

The common theme appears to be time alone. Busy but not too busy. Relaxed but not sleeping. Not directed but still focused on what I'm writing.

Sigh. Maybe if I put my mp3 player on and turn up the volume I can count making dinner as dreaming time. Otherwise... Glen Lake is only 44 days away!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Out of Order

Today's Mood: Disheartened. Today's Music: Coldplay. Today's Writing: same chapter 4 of IFFY that I have been working on for freaking forever. Today's Quote:
You are the only person who can really know what your story needs. Jon Bard (editor of Children's Book Insider)


My novel is out of order. I have been stuck on chapter 4 for over 3 weeks and it is driving me crazy. I say, "Sarah, it doesn't matter if you write pure crap, you are going to put something on the page." So I do. And then the next day I read it and, lo and behold, it's pure crap! I can't get my mind wrapped around the problem I am having with emotion. Well, technically the character is having problems with it, but in the end it is me with the problem. I just haven't figured out how to SHOW what the character is experiencing--and have it make sense.

I've talked it out. I've gone round and round in my own head. I've started it several different ways. I still can't get a handle on it, and--big surprise--I don't like not being in control. Sigh. Tonight my friend said, "So, before you hang up the out of order sign, why don't you try skipping ahead to a scene that you do know and write that." Write the story out of order? Can I do that? No, can I do that?

I've got to try. I'm so dang linear on some things (not on actually drawing or sewing a straight line, mind you) that it is going to feel like ordering something out of one of those Fredrick's of Hollywood magazines--a little naughty. Of course, if I don't I just might have to take up drinking in order to see the main character's problem.

On a side note, I'm going to do a small writing group demo tomorrow at the high school. I'm struggling with what to read. There is a part of me (okay, a LARGE part of me) that doesn't want to look bad. That wants to impress them. But really, what I should do is bring this stupid chapter that I hate and that I've been struggling with forever and see what they have to take. Can my ego take it?

What's up with you all? C'mon you lurkers, speak up and tell us how your writing is going!