Friday, September 18, 2009

Today's Mood: Tired. Today's Music: Jazz--thanks to Mike S. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:

I've managed to get up at 5:30 in order to write every morning. Now I just wish I had more to show for it! It's driving me crazy; I'm so overthinking things, but I don't know how to stop. My poor characters are dang sick of hanging out in the parking lot, but I just can't seem to get them to go in. They're going to be late to class--serves them right for being contrary.

Doesn't help that my brain is shifting through way too much crap. Start of school is always cluttered up with open houses and stuff that isn't working, problems that need solving yesterday, and tired kids. Oh yeah, and tired me too. Really tired. Deep down, disintegrate my bones tired. Snap at the kids when I have to tell them to do something 5 times--oh wait, I do that normally. Anyway, I'm tired.

End of next week I head up to Glen Lake to write. Glorious wonderful days of writing. Granted I might have to kill off a few characters if they don't manage to head into the building, but at least I get to spend more than 1/2 hour at a time, coaxing them along.


So that was a month ago, and I never managed to get back to finish it until now. How sad is that? I did get my characters out of the parking lot (yea!), although now they seem to be stuck in the stairwell. Still overthinking things.

The SCBWI conference was ... awesome, tiring, fun, helpful, inspiring... It is so different than PW. Much, MUCH more focused on getting published. I think it's really good to have both. I'd certainly get depressed if I didn't have PW to help balance out, help remind me of why I like to write--and it isn't because of publishing.

Very interesting critique I had with an agent. She talked about what the first page/chapter promised and how it seemed different than what the synopsis said the book was going to be about. Then We had another speaker who talked about the promise of the first few pages. Every book, every bit of writing really, makes a promise to the reader. As writers, we need to be aware of what promise is being made, and be sure that what follows fulfills that promise.

So I'm revising Black Dragon again. Not huge things, but first chapter things. Promises made.

Hope that all you out there reading this (or not) are writing. Comment if you get a chance. Tell me to do a better job posting on this blog. I will definitely try. Sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough time/energy/motivation in the day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Perceive, believe

Today's Mood: Harried. Today's Music: Rilo Kiley - Better Son/Daughter. Today's Writing: IFFY. Today's Quote:
"I've been reading accident reports of various kinds for thirty or more years. Call me callous, but to me they're like silent comedy movies. People do the strangest things and get themselves into the most amazing predicaments. You want to go wake up Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and say: Hey, you think your characters are crazy...." - Laurence Gonzales

Man, oh man, getting up at 5:30 a.m. when you are used to 9:00 a.m. is harder than a one-legged lady dancing a jig--on her missing leg! And writing at 6:30 a.m. is just as hard--but sorta awesome too. Back to the routine. Back to the chaos. Back to the not-so-creative writing process that occasionally churns out some pretty creative stuff.

So okay, we were talking about survival (which does seem relevant given the chaos of the first day of school in a middle school). Laurence Gonzales in his book Deep Survival talks about a certain uniformity in survival cases. He comes up with 12 points that seem to "stand out concerning how survivors think and behave in the clutch of mortal danger."

First off, survivors perceive and believe. In other words, even in a crisis, survivors perceptions and thought processes keep working. They pay attention to details and even find humor or beauty in the situation. But they are aware of and accept reality. Gonzales says they "move through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance very rapidly." (Kubler-Ross stages of grief.)

I think in order to survive as a writer, one definitely needs to be able to perceive the reality that few get rich at this job--in fact, one might never even manage to get published--and yet one still has to believe it is worth trying. Rejections used to rock me a lot more than they do now. Not that I like them, but I have come to an acceptance that they are part of the situation, the job.

Think about the jokes and one-liners that get thrown around at the PW conferences. It's all a way of using humor to deal with the stress of the job (so to speak). Those that survive accept that writing is hard and often has little public/monetary reward, but they also believe it is worth writing.

I have to think about this a bit more. Maybe the perceive/believe fits with revision as well. Right now I perceive that I have to go to bed or I won't be able to do the one-legged jig tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m. Happy Writing!