Sunday, September 30, 2007

Home again, home again

Today's Mood: Peaceful. Today's Music: Robert Pollard: Not in my air force. Today's writing: revising chapter 9 (I was writing until 2:00 a.m.--haven't been since) Today's Quote: sorry, don't have one yet. I'll add one in a bit.
Going up to Glen Lake to write always creates a quiet space within me. I write from that place. I'm not saying I need it quiet to write; in fact, I usually listen to music as I write. Or I have it playing anyway. I don't suppose I'm always really listening. But anyway, I'm talking about the quiet that comes when the shoulds disappear. When the running commentary in my mind is silenced. No longer do I hear, the laundry needs to be done or the girls won't have anything to wear tomorrow. That small voice does not whisper, the house is a total mess and we are almost out of milk. Also in that quiet there is a lack of voices from my children. No Mom, she hit me, or I'm hungry. What are we having for dinner?

The trick now is how to keep that quiet space inside. How to nurture it, and feed it. Having a set time to write every day helps. In that 45 minutes of time, all I have to do is be a writer; it's all I have to be. That helps the world quiet down for awhile.

Here's hoping you find and hold a quiet space inside this week. Tell the world to shut up, and then sit down and write.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Today's Mood: Tired. Today's Music: Matchbox 20--Mad Season. Today's Writing: STILL working on revising chapter 3. Today's quote:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -Thomas A. Edison (1847 - 1931)

Today is crazy busy with me playing shuttle service for my daughters and all, but nonetheless I'm so excited to be packing for Glen Lake! I always end out hauling along all kinds of things, just in case I need them. I figure I'll be working on Free Lunch, but WHAT IF I feel like working on IFFY? Better bring that along. And then I get thinking WHAT IF I want to work on that camping essay that I jotted notes about in a journal some time ago? Better bring the journal. And oh, I need my dictionary of cliches. And my thesaurus. Then there is the music factor. I've got my mp3 player, but I need to bring CDs so that I can share with Robyn.

The list grows. I even throw in some food, figuring that maybe I'd better eat something in between writing. And I can't go without my pillows. Two of them. The memory foam kind. My husband drew the line at me bringing my memory-foam mattress topper. Probably a good thing since Gloria is riding with me and already I don't know where her stuff is going to go. Maybe if we tie it on the roof.

I did manage to drag my sorry sack of a body out of bed this morning in time to get a little bit of writing in. But boy, oh boy, am I looking forward to writing tomorrow until all the lights in the other cottages go out and I'm yawning fit to split my face and I can't even thread two words together. Then one of my crazy roommates will see fit to rise at the crack of dawn and I'll pull the pillow over my head, swearing that it's an insane hour of the morning to get up. But my mind will start turning over, first with a dry cough like a car battery in the dead of winter, but then with increasing frequency, and after a few minutes I have to get up and head over to my computer, eyes half-shut and hair all wild and scary, and that computer will chime Hel-lo and I'll be off again, away in a different world, a different reality where I am just the manual laborer, pushing down keys that will tell some one's story--and maybe I'll even find out it is my story.

Whoa, boy! Do I need some sleep or what? Sheesh. Keep writing all of you slackers out there. Sit! Butt in chair! Now write.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Today's Mood: Content. Today's Music: Rob Thomas--Something to be. Today's Writing: revising Free Lunch--I'm working on chapter 3. Today's Quote:

"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." Rita Rudner (I know--it doesn't have anything to do with writing. I just liked it.)


Does anyone know any good sites (or books for that matter) for cliches, their origins and what they mean? I am using cliches in the novel I'm working on and I wanted to find the origin of with friends like that, who needs enemies? I've got the The Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches--but it doesn't have that particular saying.

Revising reminds me of putting a puzzle together. I have the work in front of me, but now I need to figure out how it should be put together. So I'm shuffling words and sentences here, and then there, and all the while having great fun. Writing is different--still wonderful, but more agonizing, like I'm drawing the words out of my guts rather than rearranging them on the page (or in my brain for that matter).

Oh my, I can't wait for Glen Lake and time to write, write, write and eat and breath and sleep and dream writing! I want to talk to other writers, and more than anything else I want to let that part of me--that writer part--be. Just be. Without excuses. Without doubts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Revision or Rewriting?

Today's Mood: Grateful. Today's Music: The Muse--Black Holes and Revelations. Today's Writing: Finished revising (re-writing?) chapter one of Free Lunch. Today's Quote:
There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. -W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)

What is the difference between revising and plain, old re-writing? Is there like a percentage or something? Like, if you change more than half the characters/plot then it is re-writing? Or are they the same thing?

I've read through my manuscript and, of course, thought it needed massive amounts of changing to make it acceptable. So I started revising. But you know, essentially I'm writing a different story. I mean, there are a million ways to tell a story. How do I know which one is best? And what's best anyway? Most likely to get published, most acceptable to Mom? In the end I'm trying to go with writing the one I am most satisfied with. The story I want to tell.

And to do that I have to change a number of things. Bam things up a bit (as Emmeril would say.) Exaggerate some of the things that are already there in order to draw them out.

All I can say is, it's getting me out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Excited to go write (even if I'm not excited to get up--and, for that matter, even if I'm not really awake yet.) And for me, that's the way writing should be. Something to be looked forward to (except for when it's not : 0)

I'm looking forward to the fall conference at Glen Lake. Of course, I had hoped to be done revising and on to working on that 3rd manuscript. Ha. Not bloody likely. Oh well. It will all be done in it's own time. At the moment, it's all good.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Writing in between lives

Today's Mood: Slap-happy. Today's Music: Rob Thomas--Something To Be. Today's writing: reading (beg. to end) Free Lunch. I'm on page 131 and trying to pretend it is someone else's manuscript. Today's Quote:
Sometimes [writing] comes easily and perfectly. Sometimes it's like drilling
rock and blasting it out with charges. -Ernest Hemingway

It is so hot in this library that I am dehydrating as we speak. The sweat is running down my backbone and front....whatever in rivers, not trickles. And I've got a sore throat from teaching--with one more class to go. I'm in my pilot's outfit--I am, after all, a pilot to other worlds here in the library--so that makes me extra hot (temperature wise anyway.)

I've been reading a lot in the last three days--and it's great except that I get so many ideas and characters swirling around in my head that it is hard to keep track of it all.

Writing Magic
by Gail Carson Levine is absolutely excellent for teaching writing to kids--probably middle school thorough high school--because it is concrete, has good examples, and has interesting, exciting writing exercises. I read The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen (this was so awesome because it was first person-past tense and the majority of the conflict was internal--like Free Lunch.), Jinx by Meg Cabot (another good first person-past tense.), Quantum by... I forgot but a good Science Fiction (which is what IFFY is), Just in case Meg Rosoff (in which Kismet--or Fate--has a voice) , and Demonkeeper by Royce Buckingham.

My frustration right now is having a day job. I love it--what more proof do you need than the picture above?--but I would LOVE to have more time to write. And my second day job is loved as well--but is equally demanding. I have been getting up at 5:30 and going to bed at 12:00. Last night I got in bed before midnight, but then I remembered the tooth under Shanna's pillow, and I thought I'd better make sure the tooth fairy didn't forget to exchange it for money. When the tooth fairy went in her room, however, she was sleeping with her hands under the pillow on top of the plastic baggie with the tooth. The tooth fairy tried again in the morning--but couldn't find the baggie (which quite possibly slipped down between the bed and wall) and had just shoved the money under the pillow when Shanna woke up. The fairy assured Shanna in hushed mother-like tones that all was well and that she was just making sure Shanna was covered by blankets. Whew!

Does anyone else wish they had more time to just write? And think about writing? I don't even feel like I can think half the time. Maybe the perfect day job for a writer would be one that involved a repetitive, non-thinking task--like dishwasher or something. Of job connects me with kids, and that's vital. Sigh. I just need to give up something. I can't go without showers because that is where my best ideas come. Maybe eating. If I give up any more sleep who knows what I'll say, do, or write!

Oh well, it's been a long, hot Friday and I'm going home. Take care and happy writing.