A Year

A year ago, I wrote this:

I’ve been 30 for nearly four months now, and quite honestly, have enjoyed this year so far.  I’ve burned off the fat that I needed to, I’m writing again, and at this point, my only regret is that I didn’t do this 5 years ago.

I know it’s stupid and a little trite, but the proverb that, at the end of your life, you only regret what you haven’t done, has been playing itself in the recesses of my mind lately.  Knowing how to balance patience and consistency while moving in the direction of my dreams will be the skill I will need to cultivate.  Hopefully, I don’t make myself crazy in the process.  But, more importantly, I don’t want to be in the same place next year as I am now.  Each step needs to take me closer to my goals, and in a year, I will achieve my goal of finishing a story.

This post was my very first post on this blog. I was high from a successful year at my paythebills job, and from regaining my ideal body composition. I worked really hard at both, and saw the fruits of my labor. I was happy. I reached my goals. But, strangely, I was still restless. I was not content. And I think reaching those other goals only increased the discontent.

Before this post, I only dreamed of writing a novel. I toyed with the idea for years (YEARS!), but that was something Other People did. Not me. Besides, I wasn’t smart enough, experienced enough, good enough, whatever enough to write a novel, so why bother?

A year ago, my mindset shifted. I obviously CAN reach goals. Actually, if I was honest with myself, I have always reached goals. I just never set myself up to choose goals that mattered to me. And writing mattered to me.

So, instead of “Why bother?” the question became, “Why not?” If I can spend so much time and energy to achieve goals that, at the end of the day, I don’t really care about, why not chase after The Goal that I’ve been dreaming about for years?

A year ago, I said this: “I don’t want to be in the same place next year as I am now.” Now, let’s see how far I’ve traveled on my writerly path.

A year ago, I cringed at the thought of anyone knowing that I was trying to write a novel. Or, even be identified as A Writer. Now, I embrace that identity. I am a writer.

A year ago, I started several novels, but was easily discouraged from finishing any of them. Now, I have a novel, WIP1, which is now in the revision phase, and am drafting WIP2.

A year ago, I was overwhelmed with low writerly self-esteem, and pre-rejected myself from submitting my writing to anyone (even to potential writing partners…I felt I was doing them a kindness). Now, I’m writing some short works to submit to various publications. And, my writing partners will be getting part 1 of WIP1 shortly.

A year ago, I felt very much alone (which is probably why I was so easily discouraged!). Now, I have amazing writer friends who I met through the magic of social networks. I even went to an annual writer’s conference last week and chatted with Other Writers about books and stories and other nerdy things. (Indiana SCBWI’s annual conference…highlights of that conference coming soon!)

I’m so thankful for this past year, and look forward to another year of progress toward my goal.

Thank you for your company on this journey.

Janus

As janus rostrum okretu ciach

Image via Wikipedia

I think it’s fitting that I’m born in the month named for the god of beginnings.

I love change.  I love new ideas, new initiatives.  Which is great when I see that I need to formulate new action plans to get to my desired results.  Not so great when I know the course direction is straight ahead, and the pace is slow and steady.

I’ve been working on my current Work in Progress for some time now.  It was my NaNoWriMo story, and though I’ve only been shaping it since November, I’d been thinking about it for some months before that.  I even thought that I could write one story before November, and write another one for NaNoWriMo.  Easy, breezy.

So, in September, I did attempt to write this story.  And then, 10,000 words later I stopped, feeling too discouraged to continue.

Then, I decided to re-plot this story.

Again.

And, again.

Each time I had a different history.  Different characters.  Different worlds. Different story.

Then, October rolled around, and I decided to plan out my story, scene by scene because this time, I was not only going to start a novel, but also finish one.

And I did.  And I’m happy.  Believe me.

But I’m also tired of it.  I admit it.  I have other random story ideas that I’ve dutifully written down, and have neglected in favor of writing and finishing this one.  I’ve kept my head down, and continued scribbling on the Hot Mess, though the want for something new and shiny is always there, clamoring for attention just outside my consciousness.  (I hear the waves breaking against the shore from the setting of another story as I type this blog.)

I know that I need to continue to do what I know was successful, in order to sustain the change that I want to make in my life.  I need to look behind, to what has passed, for perspective, so that I can look ahead and press on down my path.

But Tell Me: Would pursuing some of those bright, shiny story ideas be such a bad thing at this point? What would YOU do?

The Little Things are Not Important…Until They Are

PONTO DE VISTA - Point of View

hm, I like this Point of View

Writers have such a hard job, and until sitting down and really focusing on my current WIP (like, for real this time, and not a flight of fancy like it was in the past), I never thought about little things like “Voice” and “Perspective” and “Point of View.”  I always figured they would work themselves out, as I wrote, no problems, since they would be a natural extension of The Story.

Well, all those things seem so little compared to the other things that come into play when writing, but when they don’t mesh well with the story, they become really BIG things.  As a reader, I judge a book’s readworthiness by how well the book kept me engaged.  If it was a breath of fresh air to read, then I know that book was ridiculously good.  (Yeah, I don’t buy into that stupid notion that if a book is hard to understand, or difficult to read, then the book has to be good.  Or, the flip side: if the book was easy to read, then it must not be good.  Who came up with that?  Stupid people who want to feel stupid, that’s who. Sorry for the harshness.  You can imagine me saying that in a cute little squirrel voice to lessen the blow.)

Part of what makes a book enjoyable to me, is a “Voice” that matches the “Point of View” and/or “Perspective.”  But, it’s these things that have me going around in circles recently (and honestly, I don’t know why.)

I’m concerned because I feel like my subject matter is supposed to be “bleak” and “serious.”  But, whenever I write “seriously” (imagine scholarly librarian here :)), I end up with a silly, sarcastic voice (which is probably just my own stupid commentary) that I keep needing to edit out. (Hm, maybe my pretty purple robe doesn’t set me up for a serious mindset…nah, that can’t be it.) 🙂

My initial instinct is just to keep writing and experimenting, and I know it will eventually work itself out once I know more of The Story, but I didn’t realize how “blocked” I am about it till I tried to sit down to work on The Novel today.  I actually thought to myself, “What if I get all the way through in third person point of view with multiple perspectives, and I actually should have gone with first person point of view, single perspective through the main character?”

I know, I know.  Little thing to quibble about, and as soon as I post this, I will go back and work my multiple perspectives, one perspective at a time, from beginning to the end of the plot chronology, working in my character biographies one person at a time.  I just needed not to feel like I’m crazy thinking about these “little things.”

Please tell me that you have felt this way, so I feel less crazy.  Thank you!

Huzzah, and the Magic of Being in My Pretty Purple Robe!

I had a cute little conversation this morning with another Tweep, and she convinced me that my pretty purple robe definitely qualified as a swirly cape.  I promptly replied that I was so happy that I can now swagger around my house and declare, “Huzah!” at inanimate objects, and they must obey me!  First up, my coffeemaker!  (Didn’t I warn you that I’m a little goofy in the morning?)

So, I know that I’ve said maybe once or twice that I want to be a full-time-writer-specifically-novelist.  But, I wanted to step back and acknowledge the fact that I am in a position at my paythebills job that allows me to be in my pretty purple robe on most (90%) mornings, and considering all the jobs that I could have had to pay my bills, I am extremely thankful.  I recognize that I have a perfect situation to write before and after The Job, giving me literally hours to work on The Novel in my pretty purple robe. (coughcoughwhenidon’tturnonsocialmediacoughcough)

Among other things I get to do in my pretty purple robe is read through other authors’ journeys and get a “second wind” whenever I feel a little tired of this effort.  I can see the obstacles they’ve gone through (mostly, mental and emotional obstacles, huh, imagine that), and see that the only difference between a published, full-time writer and an unpublished part-time writer (or, full-time scribbler) is the discipline and persistence of staying in The Novel and getting that Bad Boy DONE!

So, with 75 days till the end of November, I am committing this blog to my Novel’s journey, and making myself accountable to its progress.

In 75 days, I will hold a finished rough draft with all its flaws and imperfections and declare it beautiful and glorious.  I am proud of it, and of myself for finishing and accomplishing my goal.  I am also looking forward to the next phase of revisions and polishing and otherwise prettying it up for submission.

“Huzzah!” I say, and it was so.

Technically, it's metallic lilac 😉 If you were curious, I bought it 5 years ago, at Victoria's Secret: a satin-y, ankle-length, belted robe with flannel lining. Pretty much perfect.