Determination and Dreams

I had a dream last night that was rather interesting.  I was sitting at a computer and I had the realization that if I just started and wrote the darn book, it would sell.  In the dream, I blew my nose, opened a blank document and wrote something along the lines of “she blew her nose and…”

Now, I could take this as a sign that if I just sit down and start typing on my novel, the words will come, they will be good and it will sell.  That’s an exciting and a scary idea at the same time.  Or I could take it as a statement that I believe in myself.  If the latter, why haven’t I done it?  Can it be, as Marianne Williamson says, that I am afraid of success?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Perhaps it’s like having a lottery ticket.  I buy a lottery ticket, either scratch off or for one of the drawings, as a game.  I don’t particularly think I’m going to win, but since I bought the ticket, there’s that slight chance.  Maybe 1 out of every 5 times I’ll win a dollar or two.  1 out of a hundred times I might win twenty dollars.  Maybe one day, I’ll actually win something significant.  My odds for writing and selling, something I’ve been working on improving my skills at for a while now, have got to be a lot better than that.  The great thing is that my enjoyment is not contingent on the selling, I can just enjoy the writing part of it too.

I had an assignment this past week for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  After storms on Thursday, we were without power to Saturday night but I knew I had the assignment to do so, on Friday morning, while my husband was there and my daughter was playing, I sat on the couch with my laptop, which was thankfully fully charged, and made notes then drafted the essay.  I found out that, even with my attention divided, I could still write.  I’m afraid it’s not going to carry over into fiction very well, but I’ll find out.  (We went out to lunch and then stopped by McDonald’s to use the Wifi so I could upload the essay.)

I’m going for NaNoWriMo in August.  I may not finish the book in August, in fact I’m sure I won’t, but I will take every opportunity to write and make significant progress.  This is the year.  This is the year that I write a book and sell it.

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Changing Approaches

I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs by authors who talk about the way that they write or their “method.”  The truth is that there may be as many methods of writing as there are authors, but I’m coming to the conclusion that we need to be open to changing the way that we do things based on our current situation.

My preferred way of writing has been to get up in the morning and write but that isn’t really possible these days because of my schedule.  I have to tuck it in wherever I can, like writing in my head on my drive time then scribbling it down when I get to work.

Also, I prefer to keep taking in information on a topic until I reach a critical mass and start synthesizing it into a new form that will be my novel or short story.  That isn’t working for me right now so I’m planning to start my novel anyway and use Laurel K. Hamilton’s method of writing.  I remember reading an interview with her where she said that she writes along and when she comes to something that needs research she simply inserts something along the lines of [insert info on _____ here] and keeps going.  Sounds like a good way to draft.

At writer’s group last night, one of my fellow writers talked about trying to add to scenes and not getting anywhere so instead he was writing down everything he knew about all his characters and then he would see where that leads.  As he read what he already had, we made suggestions and we could see fireworks going off over his head as he made connections and thought of more.  (Writing as a group jazz improv is really fun, I have to say.)

I think it’s important to be willing to change directions or approaches when you find that what you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore, for one reason or another.  I just got the Scrivener writing software and I plan to do the tutorial for that and see if it opens up a new way of approaching the novel for me.  I might try Jim Butcher’s approach (from his blog) again because I think it might work particularly well for the novelization of Biomalware.

It comes down to this – when what you’re doing isn’t working, try something new because banging your head against the keyboard just turns on sticky keys.

Procrastination and Angst

This is not going to be pretty.  It’s going to be disgustingly, revoltingly, self-indulgently… agonizingly… angsty.  You might want to look away.

Still with me?  Okay, you were warned.

Argh!  Why?  WHY am I procrastinating on starting the novelization of Biomalware?!

I started a short story one day and ended up deleting the two paragraphs that I managed to write.  What is going on?!

Have I attached too much importance to Biomalware so that I’m scared to start it and mess it up?  I need a shitty first draft, as Anne Lamott puts it, to work with.  (Though I tend to get what I ask for so I’m a little nervous to think of it like that.  Maybe just focus on Julia Cameron’s idea of asking the Universe to do quality control while I produce the quantity.)

I need a schedule.  First thing in the morning is my favorite time to write but that’s not really possible with a 2 year old who has an erratic sleeping schedule.  Lunch time at work and nap time when I’m home is my only real regular time to write.  Hard to get my mind into that space when I’m amped up or overtired but it’s the only time I have so I’m just going to have to make that sleep deprivation work for me.

Sleep deprivation tends to put my internal editor to sleep first.  (Shhh.)  I feel like I’m just sleep deprived enough to write something interesting.  For example, this popped into my head earlier, “I must be a trial to live with at times but it’s got to be more fun than your average camel.  At least I don’t spit in your eye.”

I think I may have to start with something smaller, something I haven’t invested so much hope in.

Or maybe that’s just more procrastination.

Okay, time to write.

Wasted week, or was it?

You know you’re the mom of a two year old when your idea of a spa day is 10 extra minutes in the bathroom all by yourself.

But I digress.  I’ve been off work for the past week and home with the munchkin but I’ve gotten very little done in the writing arena.  Sunday we went to a graduation party and the munchkin fell asleep just as we got there so I sat in the car with her while she napped and managed to plot out the first quarter to third of Biomalware.  Do you think I actually wrote any of that this week?  Nope.  I did put together some stories on Monday, toward a collection, but I want to write a few more before putting it out there.

So, was it a wasted week?  Of course not!  I did get those two things done, but more than that I got some rest, relaxation and well filling in.  I’ve read a couple short urban fantasy stories from the Strange Brew anthology, quite a bit of Susan Wittig Albert’s The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree mystery, and I’ve caught up on some blog reading.  I’ve gotten a couple naps in (albeit mostly contorted on a love seat next to the munchkin but one was a lovely half hour all to myself in a darkened bedroom with a summer breeze coming through the window.)  We got to see a funny and fluffy movie based on Janet Evanovich’s mysteries, called One for the Money.  I got my car cleaned out today and made a plan this week for organizing the house and getting the yard back in shape.  (Planning is so much easier than doing, dontcha think?  But it’s a necessary step.)  No real travel this vacation but soon, and there’s certainly been plenty of good beverages, though mostly chilled. 

So, no, it hasn’t been a wasted week.  I’m feeling very relaxed these days and better able to deal with the challenges of life in general.  Certainly more ready to put some of my plans into action.  What more could you ask from a vacation?