Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Madness

Today's Mood: Tired. T0day's Music: Random play. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:

Lately I don't feel much like a writer. I don't seem to be getting anywhere. Yesterday I put in capital letters, bright red font: STARTED 3RD PERSON HERE!!!!!!!! And then I wrote a paragraph in third person. Today I took out the capital letters in red font and rewrote the paragraph in first person.

What is my problem? Why is writing so hard? How will I know what is the right POV for this story? When will I stop asking questions?

Okay, sorry, had to slap myself there to end the madness. Does anyone else feel nuts this time of year? (another question, I know.) Maybe it's my job. Everybody is feeling the crunch and trying to jam in every last project before they run out of time. And I SWEAR that equipment--especially computers--always start flaking out once it hits April. It's like they know the end is near and no one in the tech. dept. wants to bother fixing them until summer, so they can glitch out all they want and stay safe from being re-ghosted. Of course, I might just chuck them out the window.....

I'm flaking out. I'm stretched too thin. I'm not writing enough. I can't think. I think too much. Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

So what is the fix? Anybody got any ideas on how to get through tough spots in their writing in only 25 minute writing increments a day? I just start to get to that zone and zing! Time's up.

And then there is the whole publishing thing. Still considering. You should hear something soon. Of course, since it has been over a year, soon has lost its glisten. If only I had an agent. Of course, to get an agent you have to query and query and query some more. And even that doesn't promise anything if you are a never before published writer. I guess I'd better call again. Sigh.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Creative energy

Today's Mood: Relaxed. Today's Music: U2--The Joshua Tree. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:
The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.~ Robert Cromier
I was hot today. The writing was flowing and I was working the words and then... I had to quit because it was time to go to work. No wonder I've been stuck on this dang chapter forever...well two weeks anyway. Oh, I wish I had more time!

Of course, when I do have time, what do I do? Work out in the yard. Watch the birds. Eat Popsicles. Read Francine Prose's book How to read like a writer. Great book by the way. Makes me want to go back and read the classics. Not that I have time.

I can't WAIT until Glen Lake!

Are there certain things that make you want to write? I read the book City of Ashes. Started it in the evening and read until 1:00 in the morning. The kids were in bed and my husband was gone and all I was doing was sitting and reading. But the story was so intense and I was so into it that I was sweating! Literally! I even ended out unbuttoning my shirt. The next morning I got up and read during my writing time. I finished the book later that afternoon. But even though I had little sleep, I was fired up. And the really awesome part is that it made me want to write! Ideas crowded into my head and the I'd think of new plot twists, scraps of dialogue, and descriptions of thing. The City of Ashes characters would keep cropping into my thoughts, but they weren't interfering.

Sometimes when I read a great book, it stalls my writing. It saps my energy and I end out thinking, I am never going to be able to write like this. I wish I could write a book that makes someone forgot to sleep, eat, take care of kids..... So why is it that some books feed my own creativity, and some make me feel like such a novice that I despair of ever being able to write a book good enough to obsess readers? Is it just mindset to begin with?

Have any of you ever had experiences like that? Do some books make you feel like you will never be that good a writer? Do some books pump you up and make you want to write? What do you think makes it go one way instead of the other? 'Cause personally, I like the energy created in the later!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What I enjoy

Today's Mood: Capable. Today's Music: Random play on music library. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

The gremlins have been talking. I'm trying to drown them out using various different methods: chocolate (extra dark--or any really), alcohol (Mike's hard limeade is awesome when it is really cold!), sleep (gotta love those 1000 thread-count sheets!), music (lots of Robert Pollard--always good for upbeat stuff), painting (pictures not walls), and my oh so wonderful writing friends.

The upshot of this intervention is that I was forced to confront my fears, one of them being what if I never get anything published? And after finally facing that fear, I found that it really wouldn't change much of anything in my life. I wouldn't starve since my day job pays enough to buy something beyond Ramen noodles. So why was I getting all stressed and listening to gremlins?

It was time to focus on why I write. Which isn't to get published. It is because writing is something I enjoy--along with chocolate, hard lemonade, good sheets, music, art, and writing friends (and a few other things as well). Funny how easy it is for me to forget why I write. As soon as that deadline draws near and I have to face the possible rejection, the gremlins start talking and I can't remember all the joy and delight (and sweat and tears--but I'm not talking about that right now because I made the heading What I enjoy) of putting words on paper.

I need to write myself a love letter. A letter about how much I love writing. Even if I don't get published ever. But that's gotta be the gremlins talking. Right?

Friday, April 11, 2008


Today's Mood: Industrious. Today's Music: Tori Amos-Tales of a Librarian. Today's Writing: working on a poem. I think, however, that it needs to grow a little before it is ready to see the light of day. Today's Quote:
The novel is an event in consciousness. Our aim isn't to copy actuality, but to modify and recreate our sense of it. The novelist is inviting the reader to watch a performance in his own brain. -George Buchanan

Today was the last day of spring break. At least I have the weekend to transition into the school week. I've been working on a painting I call Window to Imagination. People are always asking authors where they get their ideas. So what is imagination? Is it a pool of things we have read, seen, experienced, dreamed?

In my painting I portrayed the positive, whimsical side. But really, imagination can be dark and scary too. I used to frighten the heck out of myself imagining what might happen if someone broke into my house when my husband was gone and attacked me and my kids. (Okay, so I still frighten myself with that one now and then.)

And think of the horror writers like Stephen King. Definitely takes some kind of imagination to write those kind of stories. So our imagination must be fueled by our fears and desires as well. I imagined what I'd like to say to the idiot driver who passed me on the right going at least 80 miles an hour.

Sometimes imagining is a way to re-do things. When I don't like the way I handled something, I find myself imagining it a different way. Like I'll imagine saying something much funnier than what I actually said. Or sometimes I imagine myself pouring on the righteous anger. I'm always way funnier, stronger, smarter, and definitely sexier in my imagination. Funny how that works.

Maybe imagination is a way to try out new behaviors. I can say things that I couldn't really say in real life. Or at least I can say things and not have to pay the consequences. I guess if I was really looking through a window into my imagination, it would definitely have some dark things lurking in it as well as things like fairies and unicorns. Because if I can work out the nasty, petty, mean things by imagining them, then maybe I won't need to say or do them in real life.

By the way, this week I have watched two movies with authors as characters. Both movies (Stranger than Fiction and Nim's Island) portrayed the writers as neurotic. So see? There is no reason I shouldn't be an author!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Proper Opening Sentence

I want to start an article with a quote. When man invented the shovel, he could plant a tree. When the axe came along he could chop it down. Aldo Leopold.

Is that correct or acceptable as opposed to Aldo Leopold wrote?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thinkin' too much

Today's Mood: Interested. Today's Music: A Fine Frenzy. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.
~Norbet Platt

I have been trying to just write and not think. But I'm not very good at it. Especially the not thinking part. And really, don't have you to think at least a little to make the writing any good? (that's the rationalizing part of my brain talking)

So I'm writing this scene today, and I'm trying to get across that the MC (main character) is feeling both her own emotions as well as her friend's emotions. But then I get thinking, would she be able to seperate her emotions from those that are not hers? Which would be scarier--if she could or if she couldn't? (Either way, she'd probably think she was going nuts.) And if she doesn't know that some of the feelings are not hers, then how is the reader supposed to know that?--since I am writing in 1st person. So then I get thinking about whether or not I should really be writing in 3rd person limited. Maybe that would help get across to the reader what is going on even though the MC doesn't know--yet.

I had been trying to get around this issue by describing the physical, bodily reactions that occur when the MC experiences these different emotions. But that made me think about what is emotion? Just the physical feelings in the body? And do emotions and/or physical reactions--increase heartrate or whatever--come directly from an event or from what a person thinks about an event? And don't even get me started on color, hue, saturation, tone..... It makes my head spin.

So, needless to say, my writing slowed to a crawl and then stalled out completely. How do you write without thinking? How do you think enough to make it good writing but not stall out completely? How do you......?

I've got to stop thinking!