Last week I attended a talk and poetry reading by Michael Czarnecki, a poet and publisher in upstate New York. He mentioned a quote that had always affected him deeply and it made a deep impression on me as well.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I’ve taken that quote and put it on a photo I took of giant hay bales in a field, ready to be taken to the barn, then made that my desktop background so that it encourages me every time I open my laptoop. I think it’s a good principle to labor under when trying to write a novel for publication. An early American version of “If you build it, they will come.” (Field of Dreams)
I write for the joy of creating the story, but that joy is multiplied when it’s shared with other people who appreciate it.
(Incidentally, Michael’s house burned down about a month ago. There’s an Indigogo fundraiser to help them re-build. They lived very simply, with no running water or grid electricity, so the house wasn’t insured. They really need help rebuilding. Any contribution would be very appreciated. More info via the link Raise the Roof for the Czarnecki’s. Of course, there are writerly perks for contributing.)
Less than a week away from the end of Camp NaNoWriMo and August, writing has slowed down significantly. I can see an end in sight, I’ve actually written the last few lines of the book already, but getting there has shifted into slow motion. There’s going to be a whole lot of re-writing and adding to this book in September. My writer’s group helped this past Thursday night with ideas and letting me talk through my plot. (I can’t recommend joining a writer’s group enough. The right one can absolutely tap you into a well of creative energy.)
I also have a plan that’s helping to keep me going. I’ll get the first 50,000 words of Biomalware done in August with CampNaNoWriMo, then in September I’ll re-write and add to the novel. Then a quick edit and pass it out to my writer’s group. Put it away in October and wait for the group to give me feedback. Edit again at the end of October, and start submitting. Ideally, I’d like to have my first rejection by the end of the year.
Okay, that’s a fib, I’d REALLY like to have an acceptance from the first agent I submit it to but that seems so much like reaching for the stars that I’m scared to hope for it. I’m willing to go the distance for this book. I’ll keep submitting until I run out of agents that I want to submit to, then I’ll submit to editors and when I run out of those, I’ll self-publish. One way or another, this book will be available for people to purchase. I’d rather for it to be sooner rather than later. (I’d also like a movie deal because I think it’s that type of book, just to to put that out there to the Universe. *winkwink*)
In the meantime, I’ll write another piece, or two or three, of the book I started serializing on Yahoo!, Devolution. I’d love to finish writing that one in November with NaNoWriMo. I think it has a lot of potential too.
There’s always something more that I want to write and I can’t help believing that if I keep plugging away I’ll eventually reach my goal of writing for a living. Of course, working smart can help make that path a little smoother but when I can’t do that, I’ll just stop the hell out of the weeds.
Okay, so it’s day 10 of Camp NaNoWriMo and I feel a little like I’ve been in the desert with no water for too long. I stayed up until 12:30 this morning because I just couldn’t stand to go to bed until I’d finished my word count for the day.
Of course, I wasn’t content to just shoot for the 50,000 words in one month. Oh, nooo. I set myself the goal of 2,000 words per day because I figured I could do it. I can and I am but is it worth it? I hope so.
I’m also doing this while working full time, commuting an hour each way to work and taking care of a 2 year old toddler. Yup, I’m insane.
The thing is, I just want so badly to finish a novel again. I can’t wait to hold a wrotten first draft in my hands because I know how I’m going to set about turning into gold. The thing is, it isn’t all wrotten. I’m pretty happy with a lot of the writing I’ve been doing so far. It has felt almost… inspired.
I haven’t done 2,000 words every single day but I’ve managed to make it up the next day when I didn’t. Strange things have happened that fit into my novel, like a gas explosion, for heaven’s sake! Right across the river!
Everywhere I turn, there are things that apply to my story, people that I have pulled character traits from.
It’s a marathon, there’s no doubt about it, but it sure feels great. I’m looking forward to the day when I can set a little more leisurely pace to get where I want to go, but I’m enjoying this ride, right now, just fine.
August 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm (Uncategorized)
Tags: Audrey Niffenegger, creativity, first draft, Her Fearful Symmetry, NaNoWriMo, national novel writing month, novel writing, noveling, novels, planning, planning a novel, plotting, procrastination
Well, I wasn’t sure I was ready to start this novel. I wrote the short story, Biomalware, months ago and my writer’s group proclaimed it “the one.” They felt I should turn it into a novel. I thought about it for a while and decided they were right so I started mulling over how to do that. I got some character sheets, setting sheets and scene sheets from The Writer’s Craft web site and… they sat there. I made up my mind to start writing the novel as part of Camp NaNoWriMo in June, and I got about six hundred words, give or take. That was as far as I got. Don’t ask me why.
Then, recently, I had a dream. In my dream, I was sitting at a computer at work, doing something. I realized that if I just started writing the novel, it would come and it would sell. So, in my dream, I took out a tissue and blew my nose. Then I opened a blank document and wrote, “She took out a tissue and blew her nose.” (Thankfully, what I’m writing is not a chronicle of my life right now.)
When I woke up, I decided to start writing with Camp NaNoWriMo in August. “This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.” (Douglas Adams) I prepared a little bit but on August 1st, I opened up a blank document, brought over the first three sentences of what I had previously written and just started.
It was grueling at first. I didn’t feel inspired. I worried the whole venture would have to go this way, slogging my way through bit by bit. But then I reminded myself about what Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, had said about how the novel takes on a life of it’s own. So I stuck with it hoping that, after a week, the novel would take off and things would get a bit easier.
I made it through day one, then day two. I tried to keep going over what I’d written so far and the story as I knew it so my mind would work on it when I had nothing else to think about. And a funny thing happened at the end of day two. I had more story to tell. I couldn’t go to sleep until I scribbled a few paragraphs down. Then I woke up this morning and my brain had more to say about it. Something is happening here, folks. I’m beginning to live in my story, and it feels wonderful.
(By the way, synchronicity is a strange thing. I just went to the NaNoWriMo web site to look for Chris Baty’s name because I couldn’t remember it and found there was a post Nano pep talk from Audrey Niffenegger that I had never read last year. Since I just started listening to Her Fearful Symmetry in the car last night, I read it. Quite nice. But I won’t tell you what it said because you should have signed up for NaNoWriMo last year so you could get the pep talk and read it for yourself!)
Anyway, looking forward to lunch so I can write some more. I’m hoping that one of these days my characters are going to surprise me and do something really interesting. If not, I’ll just have to add it in the re-write.