Writing is an interesting job. It’s part part project management, part marketing, part story-telling. The list goes on. And because of this, it takes creativity as well as mental and emotional strength to create an engaging story.
And for me, sometimes writing can be compared to the tortoise and the hare. I am currently writing my second paranormal wedding planner book this year. FOR BETTER OF FOR WOLF, book 4 of the series, is an eighty-one thousand word book that I wrote in two months. I wrote the last twenty thousand words in about ten days! Definitely reminiscent of the rabbit, or hare, right?
FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER, book 5 of the series, is chugging along at a ridiculously slow pace. The book is going to be a bit shorter, around fifty thousand words (or at least that’s the plan) and as much as I try, I can’t seem to up the pace. Tortoise vibe going on here.
Neither is necessarily a “bad” way to write, it’s just different. Sometimes it depends on where we (the writer) is in our lives. How much energy we have to expend at any given time when our real world (not our made up worlds) also need our attention as well.
So for now, I’ll move forward and finish this book. Whether I plod along of hop, the important thing is that I’m moving forward!
I’ve told you before that even though writing can be solitary, often at its best, it is collaborative.
For me, I love it when my writer friends tell me about a concept they have been working on, or send me a couple pages of a new story and I dive into it and send back ideas for them to use (or not) in their story. And of course because it’s new and the beginnings of world-building, it’s full of excitement and energy.
But what is even more important sometimes is when a writer gets stuck in a story and can’t seem to pull their way out of the muck. At times like these, reaching out to a writer friend and telling them you need help is like a lifeline.
I am writing a new book and I got a few chapters in and it came to a screeching halt. And I pushed forward getting myself even more stuck than before. So I reached out to one of my critique partners and she literally was like, why don’t you do this? And it was so beautiful in its simplicity that I could have kicked myself for not thinking of it myself!
But that’s what collaboration is about. And then when another one of my writer friends read the first few chapters and I mentioned what writer friend A told me, she built on it even more for me, adding in some conflict for me.
Yahoo! And I am now moving forward with the story thanks to collaboration. So don’t believe it when you hear that writing has to be solitary.
So. Not. True.
There is something to be said about tradition, even when it comes to our birthdays. Growing up, I can remember getting my favorite treat for my birthday. For years, my favorite birthday treat was a mocha ice cream pie from a Friendly’s Restaurant in the neighboring town. I can remember when they stopped making that pie. I felt a little bit like a part of my memories and childhood went with it.
From there I moved on to other treats until I landed on a yellow cake with coconut frosting, and it has been my birthday cake for years.
This past week, my father celebrated his birthday and when I asked him what he wanted as a treat, he said that he already had gotten the cake. It was the coconut cake – MY coconut cake. Do I have a patent on this cake, or do I own the company that manufactures this cake? No. Am I being melodramatic when I told him that he needed to find his own birthday cake? Maybe.
Was it over the top when I called him “usurper of the cake” – okay, yeah that was a bit much.
But I think there is something to be said about the small things in life that are tied to important events, like birthday memories.
The same can be said for stories. The ones that resonate with us are the ones that bring up possible memories, or more likely emotions that we can then relate to at a personal level. That make us become part of the story and experience it as a participant rather than an observer. Hopefully you’ve found an author who can provide you with that inclusive feeling – like when you take the first bite of your birthday treat each year.
So this week, we celebrated my father’s birthday, coconut cake and all, and I only called him “usurper” once or twice while enjoying a piece of my…I mean his birthday cake. May you also enjoy your own sweet treats this week, whether it be cake or stories…
You might have noticed that last week I missed posting my blog. I had just returned from RWA’s national conference and by the time I realized I missed my blog last Monday, I decided it was Fate’s way of telling me to take a blog vacation for a week. So I did.
But I didn’t want to forget to share my conference experience with you. For me, the national conference gives me the ability to regroup, both mentally and emotionally as a writer. I attend sessions and find out what is happening in the world of publishing. But even more importantly, I catch up with my writer friends. Many of whom I only see at conference. Sure, I may email or talk to them since they are located all over, but there is something special about spending actual time together.
When I am with a group of writers, my sense or rightness (or “writeness”) returns. I gather with people who understand my language and have stories that won’t stay silent in their brains. Powerful friends to have.
So I got to spend time with my peeps to gear up for another year of writing and publishing. Batteries have officially been recharged.
Every year, my father and I participate in our town’s chalk walk. We pick a picture and then transfer it to a sidewalk stone “up town” while hundreds of adults and children draw around us. It’s a fun event, and over the years some of the drawings have been quite elaborate.
This year we were battling against the weather. The event was supposed to happen on a Saturday, but it rained, so they moved it to Sunday. We decided to draw something simple – to go back to basics like when we first started this process years ago. Attached is the finished product. Not too bad if I say so myself 🙂
And this got me thinking about my upcoming novels that will be released in the fall. The first book is all about Misha who was a huge part of my first series. In many respects, I am going back to basics with my books as well. But the fun twist was adding in Misha’s always overprotective and often hysterical family into the mix. And so the fun began and it gave me enough “story fodder” for brother stories!
So going back to basics isn’t a bad strategy after all.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a dreamer. I can’t remember a time where my imagination didn’t have me hatching stories in my head. It started as a child, reading stories and imagining what other things could happen to the characters. Then as I grew it morphed into TV shows and movies. I often wonder “what if”. What if the 90 minute movie continued on? What if the main character in my favorite show did this instead of what happened in the episode I just watched?
A lot of people are dreamers, what makes me different is that I’ve decided to write them down. Take the imagination that is churning most of the time in my head and give it a healthy outlet through my stories and characters. Characters that at certain moments I actually hear in my head.
Right now, with writing in Misha’s world, I am hearing a lot of Russian accents and belly laughs. In the very least my imagination provides comic relief.
There’s something necessary about dreaming of worlds were good defeats evil and love triumphs. Why not share those dreams with others?
Yep, I’m a dreamer. And I don’t think that will change anytime soon.
Once again I am a day behind on my Monday blog, but this time I have an excuse…honest. Last night I went to the eye doctor and she dilated my pupils. Then I came home and sat in semi-darkness thinking that my eyes would go back to normal real soon. Yeah, not so much.
So there was no spending time on the computer last night. But of course, the experience got me thinking. The reason why I sat in the dark was because those pupils let in way too much light. An overload of information, if you will.
There are times when a writer is overloaded with information. For me it happens with ideas. Ideas can be sweet and simple, but they can also evolve into huge, complicated animals. And that’s when the overload can happen. It’s not like I only get ideas when I’m not writing a story. Nope. I can be smack dab in the middle of a story and ideas pepper my psyche.
Which means not letting them distract me from the manuscript I’m writing. So I’ve decided to keep a small journal where I can jot down these ideas for another day. Some may never leave the confines of those lined pages, but others will grow into characters and stories that I’ll share with you all.
It’s almost February and I was quickly losing sight of a goal I had set for myself this year. My plan was to map out 2018 as best I could concerning my writing. How exactly to do it?
A giant, erasable calendar, of course!
In that way, I can scope out my plans for the year and look at them hanging from my wall in all it’s technicolor glory. And while my hope is I can stick to the plan, the calendar is erasable, so it allows me some flexibility.
Flexibility is a very important thing to a writer. Nothing ever goes exactly to plan. Whether it’s the writing of the story – the plot goes a new way, the character evolves into something unexpected- or the process to get that book out there to readers – edits, proofs, formatting – something will not follow the normal path. So you learn to roll with the punches, but at the same time, if you don’t plan at least a little bit, you won’t ever get to point B.
I’ve decided that I want to plan for writing in 2018! Better planning – leads to bigger successes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Today while I was working on my laptop, I received a message that my computer needed an update. And as I watched the green bar move slowly across the screen signaling the percentage of completion for the update, I wondered how we (humans) can do an update to our own operating system?
Is it when we exercise and we work our heart, lungs, and other muscles? Or maybe it’s when we sleep and we reboot our brains.
For me, coming up with story ideas is often my system reboot. It’s something to look forward to and create new characters and plots that I haven’t dealt with before. I just have to make sure that these ideas don’t derail the current work I am attempting to finish.
Let’s be honest. Ideas are the exciting part of writing. They can come to you in a flash and provide a burst of adrenaline. But then the hard part is taking those ideas and fleshing them out. Attaching words upon words to bring that idea to life for readers to delve into.
So no matter how we update our own human operating systems, the point is that we keep doing it. Keep those ideas flowing and hearts pumping so that we don’t grow obsolete in a world that is constantly evolving.
It’s actually working, my friends! Last summer I shared in a blog that I had purchased dictation software to hopefully increase my productivity. When I purchased it, I was in the middle of finishing my third wedding planner novel. Since I was on a deadline, I couldn’t take the time to truly delve into using the software.
Now I am working on the Misha book and I pulled out the headset to give it another try. Guess what? I like it! And I seem to be “writing” more words, which for a writer is a WONDERFUL thing. So, I’m going to keep speaking away, and see where the story takes me! If it does increase my word count, maybe I can actually get books done a bit faster.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. As much as you want to read the next story in my two series, I want to write it. I have so many ideas in my head and not enough hours in the day to get them down. Now? Who knows…I am a VERY FAST TALKER!