Saturday, March 17, 2007

Not even afraid of jinxing it

Don't ask me how it happened; I don't know.

But I'm writing again.

Not just thinking about writing. Not simply plotting. Not only brainstorming --- actually fingers-to-the- keyboard "gettin' it done" kind of writing.

The story is one of the several that have been dancing in my head these few years. Only, I'd always, as with others, had serious plot problems and character weaknesses -- lack of motivation, difficulty with POV etc. Whatever happened this week, most of the issues have been resolved. Those that haven't, well, they can be dealt with on the next draft.

While I don't see myself speeding through this like lightning, I figure when I am able to sit, I go about six to eight pages per day. If I expect that every second day (because the odds of getting near the computer more than that are too low to consider) then June is my target for the first draft.

I can deal with that because it seems almost . . . tangible.

All I need now is to turn of the stupid 'edit-as-I-go' mode that so often infiltrates my brain.

Happy St. Paddy's!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Reading rather than writing

As though I need any more excuses not to write, I've pulled out a bunch of books that I loved and I've started reading. The thought was that they would inspire me. The thought was wrong.

Sometimes I look at what I love to read and I think it seems so easy. You have a story -- you tell it. Then, there are times like now that reading makes me see the futility of my own aspirations. These people, these writers, they have so much more to offer than I have. They have lives that are interesting, educations that have informed them.

Where do they get their certainty?

It seems stupid, but I keep waiting for something to happen that will kick-start my 'ability' to write. When I'm away from the computer, all these ideas and scenes come. Then, I sit down and it's like I'm afraid to even open the word processor. Truly -- afraid -- like actual panic. That's just insane.

When I reread some of the stuff I've written in the past, it's good, but it's like someone else wrote it. I can't even remember doing it except in some vague way.

Maybe I've let it go too long. Maybe writing is not my destiny.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jumping in

One one of the many writer's lists I belong to, I've read about a contest that I think some of my work my be suitable for. (Provided I don't end too many sentences with prepositions).

The contest is RWA's Hearts Through History Contest. I'm not a member, but that isn't a requirement. I have not finished a manuscript, but apparently that doesn't matter either. What I DO have is about 140 pages of an unfinished WWII romance. They only require thirty and I'm positive that I could extract some of the best work in that novel and pare it down to fit their requirements.

I haven't submitted to a contest since I was a teenager, and I'm thinking that maybe putting myself out there and getting some feedback would be a good idea.

That story is like the story of my heart. I put it aside long ago when I got stuck on a plot point, but I think sufficient time has passed that I could look at it with a critical eye. The hero is strong, but the heroine required work and I couldn't find a way to make her more active and less passive. Time might have given me a new perspective and enable me to fix that.

When I've submitted to WW in the past, I received rejections, but always with positive comments and suggestions that would make the story more suitable for their publication. Getting those words of encouragement was motivating.

Should I get in gear and actually do this, I'd have to have all the editing and re-writes done by March 10. It seems long enough away, but I know it will go fast.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Giving up

I decided to give up procrastinating for Lent.

Gabrielle kindly posted comments here, and suggested that I'm afraid. She's right. Every time I go to write, I'm consumed with doubts and nagging fears that whatever I do won't be good enough.

I'm a person of faith, and yet when it comes to something like this, something I really want to achieve, I have never turned to God for the answer. Suddenly I realized how simple it is to give up something that doesn't benefit me and has the potential to paralyze me. So, for Lent, I'm giving up giving up.

I could never seem to get past what all the 'real' writers say -- "Just write." They tell you not to care what a first draft is like, just get it down and edit later. Why that seemed so foreign to me, I'm not sure, but now that I've decided to try it, I understand.

While I would never consider myself a perfectionist, failing has always seemed worse than not trying. But if I don't try, I can't succeed.

So, as difficult as it might be, tonight on this first night of Lent, I'm abandoning doubt and hesitation. I'm letting go of putting off.

When I sit down in front of a computer, writing will be my first priority. I will set targets and stick to them.

I have 40 days. If I can write five pages a day, that would be 200 pages. It's aiming high, but it's a lot better than not aiming at all.

Monday, January 08, 2007

What's the point of aiming if you never shoot?

I still spend more time thinking about writing than I ever do writing. That's a major issue and if I ever want to be successful, I suppose it must be addressed.

Christmas always brings a heavy workload and the new year means more work pressure until about April. If I had a career, rather than a job, I'd not mind so much. As it is I spend many of my off-hours preparing and planning for work related things that don't much matter.

I've applied around for better paying work, but so far, no luck. I'm going to try my hand at freelancing and now all I have to do is write something. Ha ha.

A few hundred dollars a month through writing would make all the difference to my finances and then I wouldn't have to be looking for more time-consuming and less fulfilling work.

Ah, the joys of under qualification.

I've just got to stop thinking and get on with it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nano Nano

It comes as no surprize that I'm not working as fast as I'd like. Other things, kids, work, life -- all seem to get in the way of my good intentions. Sometimes I think I should just duct tape myself to the chair and force myself to write.

All these good ideas start flowing when I'm away from the computer and when no pen or paper is handy. I force myself to remember and work out plot points and dialogue, but somehow when the instruments of my task are placed in front of me, still I draw a blank.

Someone told me that I'm not afraid of failure, I'm afraid of success. I rather think it's far less complicated. Writing is work and for me it isn't paying work. I feel guilty about taking the time to write and to get it right. Posting on a blog isn't the same. No need for complete concentration with no distractions.

Plus, I think I am afraid of failure. Revealing the inner workings of your mind isn't easy and I wonder that so many people are so comfortable doing it. In the back of my mind I'm always thinking that no one will be interested in what I have to say and that there will always be people ready and willing to pick it apart. When you write, it is part of you and you want people to like it (or at least not ridicule).

I've reorganized the story and am progressing. It's hard to commit to finishing this, but I'm trying. Over at Nano, thousands of people are doing just that -- committing and finishing. It seems so simple when you think of it. Beginning , middle, end.

Argh! If only. Who was it who said: "I hate writing, but I love having written." I can hardly wait to feel that way.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

About face

It's day four of Nanowrimo and my writing has been spare.

I had several ideas in my weary brain, all battling for supremacy and one of the ones I'd set aside and not thought about in ages pushed its way to the top.

There are four stories where I have characters and enough information to at least begin. One of those is a historical/fantasy romance halfway to completion, but needs major reworking. A second is contemporary romance nearly a third of the way done. It needs tweaking and some more development. A third is also contemporary romance but in the early development stage - I have scenes and situations, but little structure. The last is historical romance with only one scene written, but this one I've plotted to some degree --- this is the one that surfaced around the time that nano started, so this is the one I've chosen to work on.

My nano profile has the working title for my historical fantasy - 'No Man's Land', but this one, the one I've decided to work on, really doesn't have a title.

It takes place shortly after WWI and covers several years, ending part way through WWII. I was reading some of the guidelines at eharlequin, and there's a new line that would suit it well should I ever manage to go beyond thinking about writing.

This has been a noisy chaotic day, but oddly enough I've managed some time on the computer without the kids begging me 0ff. I should use the time to work, rather than to blither in the blog, but I thought writing -- writing at all might just get me motivated.

I am excited. Nano is more than I expected. There are forums where people vent etc. and there are author profiles that allow you to see who people are, what they're writing and their progress -- and filling in your own progress is somewhat of a motivator itself.

Though I doubt I'll make the 50,000 words -- I know that I have done a bit and I have no doubt that I will do more --- the surprize is the story I've chosen to write. I mean, I always meant to write it, but not now. But suddenly it's coming alive in my head and I'm acting out bits and pieces of dialogue as I drive or while working.

Back to work.