Sunday, January 23, 2011
I'm trying to stop saying "I'm gonna..." and just do the things I want to do. The things I need to do in all aspects of my life. Like Nanowrimo, and write, and save money, and clean, and figure out a more suitable career path, and etc. So, what's the first thing I do... sit here and talk about it. Well, I'm not really talking all the details. Just giving a general idea of what I'm talking about. This change has come about in baby steps. In part, through reading books (or blogs?) about writing. Someone wrote that people who talk too much about their writing, never really get around to writing it. It's as though the use of energy is wasted in their talking about it. And then the listeners give too much feedback that stops the process. I may be combining what two different people hypothesized, but that's how it lodged in my head. Also, I've always been the type who thought New Years Eve resolutions seemed a little odd. All of the adults in my life always chose something that they didn't stick with for more than a few days. So, why say something, that you know you aren't going to stick with, was what I found myself thinking. And it seemed like, the louder they said it and the more people they told... the shorter length of time they stuck with it.
So here I am, trying to just do the things I need to do. I've been trying to do this for awhile now. And it's getting a smidge easier. I'm talking about it today because I'm excited. Today I got off my butt, in frigid temps. And instead of having the Sunday blues -- dreading work tomorrow -- and hiding in the apartment, we went to the Horse Expo. While it wasn't much for a non-horse owner, it was also something HUGE. I got to meet a Friesian. I've loved Friesians since I was a teensy little girl. Not only did I get to see a Friesian up close, I got to see it ridden by Julio Medoza. Apparently, a very good rider/trainer. Friesians. Nice. It took my breath away. I almost cried. What a gorgeous creature. A living machine. omigod. Do I sound like a whackadoo? I can't help it. There are just certain breeds that I've always wanted to see, and this was one.
Now, gotta go. Things to do. And I'm not gonna say just what. Have a great evening.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I wrote this blog over a week ago and while surfing for snowy photos to go with it, checking my email, and getting on a look-alike site for a banking site by accident, I ended up with a virus. I've had access to different portions of my laptop since then, but I'm just now getting around to salvaging my documents, photos, and things. I decided to go ahead and post my blog... even though it was written a little while ago. I'm still feeling pretty much the same way. Except that I'm now reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
It’s a snow day and I’m home. I’m away from the semi-desk job and able to volunteer shoveling for the first hour and a half of my morning. I’m out of shape. It nearly killed me and it felt great. Now I’ve got the day to wander around the apartment. My plan is to clean a little, read a little, and write a little. And I thought I’d start by blogging. But I have nothing to say except to ramble. So here goes:
I’m reading the second book in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I usually don’t like a lot of science fiction/fantasy type of things. I can read about vampires a bit and I can stray into Stephen King’s strange worlds but I usually don’t stray much beyond that. When my friend told me this is about Faery’s and the war between Faery’s and mankind…and she went on and on…. I put on a smile and a nod here and there. I agreed to read them because she’s my good friend. But I really didn’t want to. The opening of the book was with a young lady sunning by the pool, talking about her nails and the color of her bikini. And I really thought I’d never make it through the book. And then there’s the dilemma of how to tell a friend that you didn’t like their favorite book. Aargh. But, I’m not only liking the book, I’m in the second in the series. The character is “girlie”; pink, lacy, and frilly and I’d rather change a tire than bake a cake or paint my nails (you’d have to stop picking at your nails so you’d have some to paint I’d imagine). But even so, this character is fun to read. Each chapter keeps me going to the next. There are many characters in each book, and I can easily remember who is who.
I’m reading so much more because my oldest son gave me a Kindle for my Christmas gift and I love it. Love it. LOVE IT! I was one of those people who thought electronic readers would be terrible. I’m usually the last person to electronically update anything. (my children also bought me a blue-ray player because when they came to visit, they wanted to watch quality movies…. It was only about a year ago I finally threw out the remainder of my VHS movies. Nevermind that my VCR had been inoperable for about two years). I had read a post by Nathan Blansford on his blog… something like myths about eReaders… and I began to wonder if I’d like one. But I still had no plans to get one. My family members thought I should have one. And I love it. I no longer fall asleep the second I start reading. I think that’s because I can enlarge the print at night when I’m sleepy and when my eyes are tired and because I stay more active; “turning” the pages more quickly. I’ve read three full books since Christmas… a record for me. I’ve always carried books with me everywhere I go but it’s even easier to carry this and pull it at when waiting in lobbies and etc. And they also gave me the cover that attaches in the spine and lights via the kindle power source… so I can read in the car at night. Fabulous!
I’m writing. More than last year. But still not as much as I should. I “failed” at Nano. But I don’t consider it a fail. I just didn’t make the word count. But I continued to learn a lot. Writing with that quantity, and I had a topic that I felt passionate about (someone’s butt I wanted to kick), I was able to practice making my chapters move one to the next. Each chapter having it’s own climax. Yah, clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about in a way. I really need to take some classes or read more plot books. But the really good authors who are able to make each chapter exciting and move into the next…. I had a bit of that this time around. And that was exciting. What wasn’t exciting was worrying about the fact that … because I’m a social worker, no matter what my plot is, I feel like that in every story I write, there’s going to be someone saying “you wrote about me”. And how to make sure it seems fictional enough. Unless I write about the flying, purple, people eater… someone can say “hey, you wrote about me”. Oh wait…. There’s already a flying, purple, people eater…. Crap! There’s my dilemma! When I worry about that…I get stuck again.
Speaking of work… my “real” work… the work that feeds me and takes all my energy away from writing… I’m so burnt out. I love working with the kids. The children themselves are tiresome but amazing. But I’m so burnt out. I’m sick of the politics. I’m sick of the hoops. I’m sick of the endless line of referrals (good news is I’ll always have a job…bad news is that it’s mentally ill/at-risk/abused youth!). I’m so sick of the news about “shooters” and people blaming guns when we are raising thousands (or millions) of children who do terrible things every single day. Then something hits the news and we want to talk about gun control. I’m sick of reactionary. Where’s prevention? Where’s realistic help for our children? Our mentally ill? I’m sick of the drama on the news and everyone’s opinion and placing the blame…. You wanna know where the blame is? On each and every one of us. On the parents. On our society who have raised people to feel entitled enough to think it’s okay to “just do it”. You want to do something to help? Volunteer in a youth center. Become important in a child’s life. Stop living your life in an entitled and bullying manner – children ARE watching and modeling after you. Make it so that money HAS to go into mental health…preventative. Don't be reactionary. Put your opinion away… you know what they say about opinions and body parts…..everyone has one. Shut the heck up about your opinion and your drama and do something about our society. It’s not the damn gun or the damn bullet…it’s what our attitudes are doing to our children. What has your attitude done to a child today? (oh, and by the way, when i rant and use the word "you" I mean society, not the person whose ear I'm bending)
Anyway… I’ve been considering – strongly – a career change. Too many years of watching our children become more mentally ill, more abused, more neglected. Watching adults become bullies even more, then wonder why bullying in schools is a norm. Wonder why we can’t stop bullying in schools? Listen to adults speak for five minutes. And I’m not talking about politicians and campaign crap. Bring it down to the daily functioning of the adults raising our children and how our children learn to function daily. I’m supposed to teach children to function differently when all other adults behave like dolts? I'm supposed to be able to predict which child on my caseload will grow up to be a murderer when each child on my caseload is so full of hurt, anger, and mental illness that each one could potentially tip over that edge. I’m tired of it and want a change. I just don’t know what to do instead. Yet, when it comes down it, it’s hard to leave the kids. There’s always at least one that’s making improvement that I feel like I can’t leave just yet.
So, today, I’ll ramble at whomever will listen. I’ll yell at the tv when the news is on… and I’ll read, write, and putter around and clean. Try to live in my fantasy world today and hope my characters speak to me a lot. And admire the writers whose characters have such loud voices.
Have a great and loving day.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I am still Nano'ing. Some days I write like crazy, some days I'm just crazy, and some days I don't write at all. I'm behind. I'm at 20, 019 words. It's a respectable word count even though i'm behind. I'm motivated but not too stressed about getting the "win". Because the win for me is the process.... the improvements.
My characters are strong. I like that I'm learning how to move the story. I like that I'm not hung up on whether or not it's good enough....after all, it's Nano, and if i decided to type my grocery list, that would be good enough. Fortunately, I haven't had to do that. I don't have much detail or much description yet. I'm a little afraid that while i'm in a moment of thinking about what the characters are doing that if i get too descriptive, i'll lose track of where they are going. I feel like it's either describe the room and the dress or describe the action. I don't feel like i can do both. Oh... imagine the word count if i keep enough focus to do both!
okay, off to either Nano or go to bed. It was a really rough day at work, and tomorrow is predicted to be worse. Maybe I'll just type my grocery list.....
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I'm taking a break from Nano'ing and thought I'd blog. It's going well. I'm very pleased with what I learned from last year and how it's coming out this year. Five thousand, five hundred words in two days. Woohooo! It's a miracle. I didn't have an outline or a plot (you know plot is my biggest weakness if you know me at all). But I had a small family of characters in mind. And so far, they are coming out onto paper fairly easily.
I know that won't last. But so far, so good.
The biggest change for me, is how my chapters are shaping up. I'm not sure what it's called exactly, but the movement, the rise and fall of each chapter, is much easier this year. The tension and excitement of each chapter, that moves it to the next, actually exists. I'm soooo excited about that. I've been reading and studying how other authors move me from one chapter to the next. I'm a slow learner. I can never say, "Ah, Ms. Writer is doing this" or "Mr. Author used that technique". But i could say "ah, i liked that book ALOT!" and could think more about whether it's voice or plot. And noticed that it usually had alot to do with how one chapter moved into the next.
And this year, my chapters are starting to move.
Baby steps, baby!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Here we go again.
Last year, I made it to the word count. And those pages are safely stored in a notebook, on a shelf. There was something very satisfying about printing them and feeling the weight of the paper from one MC. It was a good excercise in doing time on my behind. I learned some things from that. I didn't end up creating something publishable -- at least, not in a way that I know of just yet. There are too many characters that are too much like folks I know in real life. And no real plot. But I made progress and learned a few things last year. Let's see if I can learn anything this year.
Whew.... here I go again.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I had a day off from work. It was wonderful. I was able to spend it wisely; on my behind! I wrote well over 1700 words today, at my leisure. Without feeling pressed for time but still feeling like I have no idea where I'm going with any of it.
Plot is so difficult for me. So I dug out my copy of Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell and started reading again. I have two characters in my head whose voices are so strong. I just don't know what to do with them. But after reading a bit about Plot, Mr. Bell helped me realize that I'm totally stuck in the middle of the story. No beginning and definately no end. And that's probably why I feel like there isn't any movement in my story. Because there isn't. I ended up writing about my MC's beginning today.
I feel productive...but dang, i wish the road signs were more clear and the path better lit.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
We were camping recently and while we were exploring, I realized that exploring the abandoned buildings was a lot like writing for me; interesting, exhilarating, and more than a little scarey. I was looking out into the bright sunlight, where I wanted things to move. Where I want my imaginery friends and made up stories to move. From the confines of my own head and out into the light where others can see.
Writing Progress: uncertain of the word count. But I've brought out a story that I had put away because I didn't know how to make one character more real. Recent experiences have helped me define the character a little better and I'm feeling inspired.