Archive for the ‘Author’ Category

After much avoidance and guilt for not understanding why I was avoiding, I have realized that I do not want to do anything further with the first draft of my first novel. Why? Because it does not resonate with the story that I hear in my head or feel in my body. Not because the story isn’t interesting or the dialogue isn’t sharp enough, but rather it doesn’t sound or feel like what I really want to say. I was attempting to fictionalize a memoir and it just didn’t come out right; like a cake that doesn’t completely rise in the oven. You take it out, look and at and think to yourself, “Well crap. It’s not supposed to turn out like that.” I have absolutely no desire at this time to attempt a rewrite so this novel is going to be tucked away until some time in the future when I want to dust it off and form it into something I feel better about.

My plan is to write an entirely different story which is what I am going to do. I am taking everything I learned along the way and incorporating all that into the next novel. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep refining my craft until I have a finished product that sounds and reads exactly the way I imagined it would.

And that is my new plan. Wish me luck!

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I subscribe to Rachelle Gardner’s blog and today the blog about Hemingway that arrived in my mailbox truly lifted my spirits. As I read the list of the six things writers can learn from Hemingway I let out my breath. I do all of them except number 3 which is still a challenge for me. I loved reading that Hemingway explored all types of writing and didn’t just pigeon-hole himself into one category which for some unknown reason I have felt I need to do.

I put my novel aside for a few weeks without really understanding why. I do now. I go through periods of various lengths where I need to put aside what I’m working on and do something else. When I do come back to it (which I always do) my perspective and creativity have been refreshed. I don’t have a deadline except for the one in my head which is seriously stressing me out, so I’m going to let it go. I will finish my rewrite when I finish. It’s that simple.

Two of my most used skills are organizing and structuring which serve me very well in the work I do for others. However, when I apply them to my creative process they take over and suck the enjoyment right out of it until I don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore. Moderation is the key here which I haven’t found yet in this particular area.

I also feel that I have censored what I am writing as I am thinking about who would be reading it and what they will think of it. I will know this for sure once I have completed my read through but I’m fairly certain this is why I have had the niggling in the back of my mind that my writing wasn’t 100% authentic. Worrying too much about what other people will think and not putting down what I really want to say and how I want to say it.

I recently had the opportunity to write something I have never written before and I balked at the opportunity. I wrote it, but in the back of mind was the disclaimer “This isn’t the type of writing I do.” Now, after reading Rachelle’s blog, my thinking is “Yeah, I haven’t ever done this before. So let’s go for it.”

Oh and by the way, I plan on revisiting Hemingway’s work as I have a suspicion that it will be read with fresh eyes and a different perspective.

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I’ll tell you what that thing under my arm is, it’s my novel. I have been carrying the box around for two weeks everywhere I go but have yet had the time to open the box and get to reading. I strongly feel that I should get points for at least keeping it with me. My work schedule has spastically amped up and when the day is through I just want to chill. At this moment the box is on my desk under my purse, ready to go when I am.

I had the weekend to read but what did I do instead? Let’s see, went to lunch with I., then dinner and a movie with H., then rented movies, finished reading “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert and took two naps. Yep, that’s what I did. All the while the box silently sat on the table, waiting. If it had eyes they would have been seriously disapproving and reproachful. There’s always this week..

Tonight, well after going out to dinner I had to watch Dancing With The Stars and see how my girl Kendra did. Ralph and Kirstie gave her a serious run for the money and I’m once again hooked. I’ll be watching each lame ass elimination show along with the dancing shows cause I just can’t help myself.

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Just a quick update. I printed out my novel today and left Kinko’s with 375 pages neatly stacked in a brown box. I couldn’t stop smiling as I held the freshly printed still warm pages in my hands. This is a first for me. A big one. Tomorrow is read, read, read, day. Got my red pen loaded and ready to go!

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I went to Kinko’s to print out my novel. I inserted the USB device into the printer and waited.. Nothing. Nothing as in nothing showing up on the computer screen to print. Where’s my novel? Turns out the anti-virus program on the USB prevents it from even showing up on another computer. So crap! No hard copy.

I will go back again on Thursday after I have downloaded it to a new USB that doesn’t have any anti-virus protection on it. There are too many pages for me to print it out on my printer and unfortunately it is cheaper to pay for a copy at Kinko’s than it is to buy a new ink cartridge for my printer (which I would probably have to do once finished).

There is a new secret project in the works. It is in fact another book. This one is only for me and it is documenting step by step a personal challenge that I am working on. By keeping this project for my “eyes only”, I am able to write with complete freedom anything and everything that is occurring which is key to understanding the entire process. Once again I have a timeline and the daily writing will help me stay on target.

Writing the new book has also revived my enthusiasm for completing my first book. Thursday is the day when I will feel the full weight of all those pages in my hands. Friday I will begin reading and making all my notes for revisions. Exciting!

I am still coughing but my energy level is finally getting back to normal. I am seriously considering a flu shot next year. Today’s photo is of Salzburg, Austria. Even my freezing nose, hands and feet couldn’t detract from the beauty of this city.

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“Don’t worry. We aren’t contagious.” I swear, do not ever believe anyone who tells you that. I believed my sister and hung out with her and her kids who were coughing up a storm all around me for most of the weekend before last. My reward came when I awoke on Monday morning with the mother of all colds or the flu, take your pick. I have been incredibly sick. The kind of sick that when you look in the mirror and see your eyes at half-mast you wonder if it’s time to go to the doctor or the emergency room.

Fortunately, I haven’t had to do either. This flu is taking its sweet time passing through. I am feeling better this week, as compared to last, yet still on the mend. My voice became unrecognizable, my throat painful and useless and my thinking fuzzy. All I could manage to do was watch movies, try to sleep and basically zone out to zombie land for several days. You have some pretty trippy dreams when a fever is involved. I have personally spoken with my deceased father, grandmother and Kevin Costner over the last few nights while attending banquets with hundreds of people I don’t know. Kevin Costner told me the secret to getting the life I want is to go to butt.com. Hmm…. I googled it just for kicks and you can guess what options popped up. Disappointing. While awake, (I think) I have watched the following mini-series, The Pillars of the Earth, Mistral’s Daughter and The Tudors as well as several other movies, none of which I can remember.

Reading was not an option and writing next to impossible. I couldn’t get out from under my blanket to get to the computer to sit upright long enough to turn it on. The plan is to print out my novel which clearly isn’t going to happen until next week when I will once again have a multitude of topics to go on about.

As you can see my photo upload option is once again working! WordPress was kind enough to check it out and figured out it was my browser so I am using a different one and Et Voila! These two photographs are from the Eden Project in Cornwall. Amazing place.

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My chapter division is complete and nowhere near as difficult as anticipated. What to do next? I have been reading pages on the computer screen but that doesn’t really do it for me (which is why I am not a Kindle devotee). I need the whole kit-and-kaboodle in my hands, so the time has come to print the sucker out. Part of me has dreaded this because it may sound really convoluted once it’s in front of me. But, then again, that is exactly what I want to know. How can it be streamlined if I don’t know where the bumps are?

The idea of resting my back against one of the enormous pine trees at Pt. Reyes National Seashore while carefully reading each page of my manuscript is actually quite appealing. I’m certain that the fat gray squirrels, chattering woodpeckers and white-tailed deer will be more than happy to assist me in eating my lunch. It’s difficult to feel unhappy about anything when you are surrounded by such peaceful beauty. Hmm.. I doubt I will read it all in one sitting so I better plan on going both Saturday and Sunday. I know. I know. Work, work, work.

Unfortunately, something is out of whack with WordPress and I am unable to upload photos anymore.

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This week just in the nick of time my writer’s critique group convened. We gathered around the table in the room of many windows bordered by books, books and more books. Quan Yin sits peacefully in the corner silently blessing our endeavors. The energy in this room is so specifically intentioned that once you cross the threshold the only thoughts swirling in your consciousness are about writing. The moment I sit down I feel relaxed and the creative part of me that is never very far from the surface fully emerges. I can breathe here.

During a break I observed the three women of varying voices and careers sitting across from me. I decided to take a chance and ask them for their help. I told them that I didn’t feel my novel is in my authentic voice and that I hadn’t found my niche. I asked them how they found theirs. I explained that although I liked what I had written, it didn’t completely vibrate with the depth of what I wanted to say. I waited for their responses and was gratefully surprised. Each woman was fully engaged in listening to and answering my question. No one blew me off or brushed my query aside as silly or irrelevant. They heard me and this is why I come here to be with all of them. This group is teaching me how to fully listen.

What I took away with me that day as I crunched across the gravel and warm colored stepping-stones back to my car was that in order to identify my unique voice I needed to read my writing to the group (this was something that still was uncomfortable for me).The more I read, the more I would be able to distinguish what was on key and what was discordant. That is how I would recognize my voice.

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This week I really feel as though I am circling the drain with my schedule. I now have a fuller work week which has been a priority for the last year or two, but my time seems to be slipping away. Still working on the chapter division which isn’t that time-consuming or difficult but remains a struggle to sit down and do. The longer I stay away from my writing, the more difficult it is to get back to it. The amount of progress I have made over the past few weeks is pitiful at best. I know that if the only way I could make money was to finish my novel it would be done in a heartbeat.

The flurry of activity (well maybe not a flurry but more than usual) has also brought to light other projects that I’m interested in as well as other ideas for novels. I am somewhat stalled since I won’t move ahead on any of them until my current novel is completed and I’m dragging my feet on doing that. This will pass. I know that.The cement blocks that are surrounding my feet will lift and the flow will continue. Right now every day this week is booked until Sunday. However, little blocks of time during the evening will work so that is the plan for now.

I read a well written and engrossing book by Jon Katz called “A Dog Year.” I like his writing style. I like the way his mind works. I like the way he is honest with himself about who he is and what his challenges are. I intend to read more of his writing and recommend him to anyone who is interested in dogs and our relationship with them.

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Picking and choosing the “write” opportunity takes some thought. This week an offer arose for me to write articles for a new metaphysical website that covers all the topics that are close to my heart. I was so excited I sent in my bid, proposing a minimum of five articles per week. When I moved past the initial thrill of the opportunity I looked, I mean really looked at what I had just committed to and realized there was no way I could do it. I have my regular work to attend to as well as editing my novel which takes up the bulk of my time.

I could do it if I wanted to have a week filled with tension and stress, which is exactly the opposite of the life I have been creating. I wrote back saying that I realized I had over extended myself and wouldn’t be able to do the work needed. The employer responded by asking exactly what I felt I could reasonably do and when I stated one article a week tops, the answer was that would work and they were still interested.

In a similarly themed situation, I have a new client whom I enjoy working with but can see that if I do not “draw a line in the sand” and keep my boundaries in place, I will be once again over extended. Balancing what works for me with what works for the people around me keeps everyone happy and sailing along. The responsibility for how I commit my time lies with me and only me, no matter how much someone is needing or asking for.

I am extremely reluctant to begin any project that will take time away from rewriting my novel which is a main priority right now. Things are popping up around me that I am very drawn to and as I reach for them I end up pulling back because the timing isn’t right just yet. So I am cracking the whip over my own head to get it done!

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