Saturday, June 30, 2007

Unexpected disasters and surprises

Today's Mood: Reflective. Today's Music: Sarah McLachlan--Fumbling toward ecstasy. Today's Writing: Not much--a little work on my chapter by chapter outline for IFFY. Today's Quote:
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Yesterday I was going to do a short workout and then get a couple hours of writing in before I had to pick up my kids. I ended out spending the time getting my head stitched up. Ah, the unexpected things in life! I was simply looking for the _____ workout video (you can fill in the blank with whatever word you like. My choice is an expletive of some sort). I opened one of the doors to the entertainment center and the pane of glass fell directly toward me. The corner nailed me right in the dead center of my forehead. It didn't feel very good and left a small but fairly deep triangular hole. Now that it is stitched--I look a bit like I come from India with the reddish black dot in the middle of my forehead.

Then I proceeded to lock my keys in my car later that afternoon when I was at the girls' swim lessons. All and all it wasn't my best day. But it is great fodder for stories. Imagine the blood running on down the bride of my nose from a hole in the middle of the forehead.

Today I decided to forgo the exercising--apparently it's bad for me. But today held a surprise as well--just on the good side instead of the bad. This evening we came home from Barnes and Noble at almost ten at night, and the woods next to our yard was dark--yet full of little points of light. The fireflies where glimmering on and off by the hundreds. Absolutely magic! Of course, some of them were brave enough to venture into our yard, and the girls spent ten minutes of bliss, catching the fireflies and watching them glow in their hands.

I may not have got much writing done, but the magic is there inside me. It'll come out in writing at some point. Hope you are writing, or at least living something that will make some great writing at some point.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Blog reminders and schedules

Today's Mood: Pleased. Today's Music: Tori Amos. Today's Writing: Revising some details on character charts and profiles. Today's Quote:
Writing is way over-rated. Revise and edit until you're sweating bullets, until your tenth draft finally begins to read like an effortless first draft. Then cut it in half. -James V. Smith Jr. in The Writer's Little Helper


In an optimistic hope that more people will visit the blog after the Glen Lake conference, I am posting "da rules"of the blog. The purpose of this blog is to be able to connect with other writers. When I post, I am seeking acknowledgment of me as a writer. I seek encouragement, answers to my questions, and sometimes a poke or two in order to remind me to write. It makes me feel more accountable when I know I'm going to have to put down Today's Writing.

There are very few rules--and they are not rules so much as how things work on the blog.
***One: remember that anyone can read this, so think of the blog more like debriefing and less like a small group. If you want someone to read your writing--put the question out and then hook up with whomever responds outside the blog (via email addresses provided in the PW Directory).
***Two: Anyone can comment, but if you want to be able to POST, you need to email me with your email address so I can put you on as an author. Don't send the email address over the blog. Posting means you can bring up your own topic for people to comment on--like having debriefers other than just me.

And that's really about it. It doesn't have to be just about writing. Writers read, writers watch the Tigers.... And remember you don't have to have great profound things to say (although I'm sure you all do) when you comment on someone's post. You can just comment to let us know there are other writers out there writing.

Oh, and on a totally personal note: I set my alarm and got up at 7:30 to write this morning! Go me! Why it is so much harder for me to get out of bed here at home than it is at Glen Lake, I have no idea. But I need to do this. I need the scheduled time to write--otherwise it is never convenient. There are always too many other things to do.

Hope you are writing as well.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Back to the unreal world

Today's Mood: Snarky (compliments of Robyn) Today's Music: Maroon 5--Kiwi. Today's Writing: Worked on a chart that will help me write the rest of IFFY. Today's Quote:
You want to write? Write. Don't wait for the muse. Write. Just plant your butt in a chair and write. - James V. Smith Jr. The Writer's Little Helper.


The week is ending, and tomorrow we are all heading back to our many other roles and responsibilities. I will put on my outfit as mother, and wife, and daughter, and sister, and friend, and housekeeper.... You get the idea. At home I'm not just a writer. But--emphasis here--I am still a writer. Deep down, at the core, where no one can remove it. I am sticking with my get up early and write schedule. I will meet with my small groups, I will blog to you all, and I will write.

Tonight the lake is a mix of rough and smooth, gray and silver. The sky still holds the faint hint of pink; the green hills are shades of blue and purple. I know there are people down by the fire already, but I hate to give up this last little bit of time, so I sit writing while Robyn reads bits of wisdom from a writing book, discussing titles with Carol, who is cooking sausage and biscuits. Try to describe what that smells like! Ah, I'll miss this--but it is never completely gone because I carry my writing with me. And this, and you, are all part of my writing.

Hope you all have a smooth re-entry.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Glen Lake

Today's Mood: Excited. Today's Music: Tori Amos--Beekeeper. Today's Writing: just getting started. The possibilities are unlimited! Today's Quote:
I heard words are a lot like fish ... they mostly bite better in the morning! -on the Glen Lake conference schedule


No one is awake in my cottage. The slopes on the other side of Glen Lake--which I can see out through the sliding doors--are a misty blue, rising out of the silver water. Anything seems possible. Words really do rise like fish, nibbling at the surface of my mind. I see someone out in front of cottage seven, sipping coffee and writing. Yes, catching words on paper.

Yesterday I arrived all sticky and stressed after a week of hot weather and household chaos. The only words that were close to mind were heated, angry, bitter. I set up my writing stuff and didn't even want to face those words. So I went for a swim. Out in the lake I could feel the water washing away home, healing the bruises, easing my soul. The words weren't there yet, but I could start to feel them swimming somewhere deep inside.

Later, down by the campfire, we watched the thin slice of cantaloupe moon sink behind alligator hill, like it was being eaten by the night. Venus was shining bright on the horizon and I found my spot here on earth. I found the world I need.

This morning I woke and couldn't go back to sleep. The words are biting.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Writing Time

Today's Mood: Distracted. Today's Music: Coldplay--X&Y. Today's Writing: Climax of IFFY. Today's Quote:
It's not what you do once in a while. It's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference. -Jenny Craig
Summer vacation officially starts today at 3:00 p.m.. So of course I am making a list of everything I need to do--before Glen Lake/ before summer is done. Somehow people have in their heads that I get most of my writing done in the summer. This is far from the truth. The lack of schedule (and the fact that I have two children and a house that has had many projects that have been put off because I don't have time during the school year) means I don't have a SET time to write.

I aim to fix that this summer.

I am sitting here thinking about setting my alarm every day for 7:15 and getting up to write before the kids get up. Or, I could write for four or five hours every Thursday and Friday. Which is better? Writing every day for an hour, or writing two days a week for four hours at a crack?

What is your writing schedule? Do you think it is important to have a schedule?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tense--past versus present

Today's Mood: Cheerful. Today's Music: Simon and Garfunkel. Today's Writing: IFFY--climax chapter. (Yup, I'm writing out of order--amazement! awe! shock!) Today's Quote:
"The last time somebody said, 'I find I can write much better with a word processor.', I replied, 'They used to say the same thing about drugs.'"Roy Blount Jr.

What are the advantages of using past tense over present tense? How does it change the writing? I've been working on this novel (IFFY) in present tense--mostly because that is what I am most familiar with--but I wonder if there would be an advantage in writing in past tense. Present tense makes it more immediate--you ARE the character and experience events as they unfold. But I wonder if writing in past tense would give a better sense of voice? I mean, then the character (since it is written in first person) would be TELLING the reader the story.

Sometimes I think using past tense would make it easier to winnow out the unimportant and just have the character tell the important parts--like all good storytellers do. I have a tendency to write a LOT of dialogue. Most of the story is dialogue--or at least, sometimes it seems so. And dialogue is one of the hardest things for me to write.

So what am I saying? That I want things to be easier and I'm wondering if I can do more telling if I use past tense? I don't know. What do you think?