Back-To-Writing

Pen en papier / Pen and paper

Pen en papier / Pen and paper (Photo credit: Nationaal Archief)

Back-to-school (BTS) is less than a week away for our dudes.

It’s giving me anxiety. I wake up with a crippling “to do” list scrolling on my mental screen. And I fall asleep the same way.

  1. Order uniforms – Surprisingly between the end of school and now my dudes have grown. Go figure.
  2. Buy school supplies – It’s my favorite thing about back-to-school.
  3. Coordinate drop offs and pick-ups – The bane of my existence. They get out of school at 3PM. I get off work at 5PM.

There aren’t any checkmarks to signify completion of any of these” to do” list items.

  1. Buy shoes – First must practice tying shoes or plan on shoes without laces.
  2. Buy backpacks – Not cool licensed stuff like Batman and Sonic because they don’t last. Need something reinforced. Boring.

And the list goes on and on …

  1. Discuss lunch options – Need choices that can survive without refrigeration.
  2. Get haircuts – Now, not later. It will grow out just the right length before pictures.
  3. Buy glasses wipes – Little people don’t care about grime.

Oh, I know some of you are feeling my pain. But that’s what BTS looks like for my dudes. These are the things Momma needs to do to get them ready for the 2013-2014 school year.

 

14:365 Pen & Paper

14:365 Pen & Paper (Photo credit: mattbeckwith)

BTS looks different for me personally. This year, BTS for me is Back-To-Writing. Writerly me needs a back-to-school program!

For those of you who don’t know, I started writing my first novel in August 2010. The idea came to me one morning while I was curling my hair. A flash of brilliance.

I was excited and the words flowed. Then I realized I had no idea what I was doing. So I started looking for help and there’s an abundance of it available. By abundance I mean more than any one writer could ever sift through.

It was paralyzing to realize all I didn’t know. Plus, it was overwhelming to realize what I did know and maybe wasn’t applying right.

In August 2011, I reset my goal. Put my word count goal in Scrivener again.

In August 2012, I reset the goal again. I’m half way there.

We’re coming to the end of August 2013 and I am facing my third reset. I have mixed feelings.

I think: “Why am I not done yet?”
Then, I think: “No worries. Take your time.”

I’m sure some of you are ready for the whining about the novel and my writing process for it to be over.

But my enthusiasm has waned and with it my habits. I’ve gotten sloppy.

How do I combat this slowdown in progress? How do I overcome this dwindling enthusiasm and momentum?

Easy! Back-To-Writing.

By getting back to the basics and rebuilding my writing habits, which means, I must write daily; adhering to word count and time goals.

Discipline is the key.

I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Twenty one days of doing a task over and over to make it second nature.

 

Calendar Card

Calendar Card (Photo credit: Joe Lanman)

So here I go … 21 days of writing new words every day. That’s my first semester or quarter or marking period. Call it what you will.

It won’t matter what I write at this point. I just need to be intentional about sitting down each day to write. Words on the page. It could be novel writing or blogging. It just needs to be daily.

For the past 6 months or so my characters have been on sabbatical. Their leisure time is over. It’s time for the hard work. Together we will finish this.

Otherwise, the characters from a second novel idea will breakthrough. They’ve been knocking at the door and whispering to me in my sleep. But I refuse to answer until I finish book idea one to satisfaction.

Oh and did I mention, if I miss one day, then I will have to start over counting my 21 days. I will reset daily if necessary to avoid resetting at the end of August 2014. FINISH.

Once I complete a full 21 days of writing, I’ll up the ante by selecting specific word counts per day or time writing per day. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted. And, you can help hold me accountable.

I had good habits in the beginning when I was ignorant. Maybe naïve is a better word. Either way I want to have that sense of innocence back; that feeling of invincibility. I can do this.

What does BTS look like for you? What will you rededicate yourself to? Will you get Back-To-Writing? Creating? Painting?

Images through WordPress…

 

Advertisements

Write Now? Write Later? Write Never?

Keyboard

Keyboard (Photo credit: Quinn deEskimo)

To write or not to write? I’ve asked myself this question before but previously it was to determine whether or not I should be a writer. This time I ask for a different reason.

Making the decision to take a break is the latest meaning of this question. That’s where I am.

Over the past six weeks or so I’ve been struggling with my writing. You know the drill:

  • Wondering if I’m any good.
  • Comparing myself to other writers.
  • Finding the time to write or better yet making the time to write.
  • Finding the inspiration or motivation.

And it’s not just with my current WIP but with all writing in my life:

  • Blogging
  • Journaling
  • Lettering (okay letter writing … I liked the –ing I had going)
  • Posting to any social media

Right words elude me. Really, all words (good, bad, and indifferent) our outside of my reach for some odd reason.

My writing has been sporadic to say the least. It’s not a good feeling.

And I wouldn’t call it writer’s block because words will come to me. They just won’t stay. They flit around my mind and then fly off to places unknown; never quite landing.

What’s writerly me to do?

I don’t feel solid without my words. I am at loose ends because of this unscheduled and involuntary break from writing.

Which is why my writing partner and I had a brief discussion about taking a six month sabbatical. Six short months. What could it hurt?

And, for half a heartbeat I considered it. For half a heartbeat it sounded good … I mean I’m already not writing. Right? Why not call it? Label it?

But, only for half a heartbeat. Then I effectively dismissed it. I can’t make the deliberate choice to shelf my writing, not my project, but my writing. Taking an intentional writing hiatus is not going to happen. Why?

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like one of my favorite quotes says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou

No matter how hard it is, this story has to be told. It’s this burden that keeps me moving.

My fear is that I won’t finish telling Baby Girl’s story. It’s a fear greater than facing this lack of creative flow. It’s a fear greater than worrying about whether anyone else will care about her story. It’s a fear greater than facing rejection for publication.

My mojo will return …

In the interim, I’ve been quiet and reflective. I’ve learned some things about my writer self.

First, I live in my head a lot. And I write mostly about what I think and how I feel and how I experience life.

The same is true for my characters. I am good at telling you what’s on their mind. Unfortunately, it all happens in a void … white spaces of the mind.

I need to practice giving thoughts, feelings and experiences a landscape to play across; a stage giant stage and beautiful scenery for the drama to unfold.

Second, I live life in extremes. I am either high or low; up or down. There is very little middle ground. You’ve probably noticed the pendulum swing from blog post to blog post. (Thanks for bearing with me.)

I am sure other writers have similar existences: zealous melancholy but not status quo.

And it translates to my writing too. It’s either feast or famine. A smorgasbord of words or a naked plate. A cup overflowing with motivation or empty and dry.

I need to learn to harness my energy regardless of the planting and harvesting season of my creativity.

So, if you hear from me a little less don’t worry. I’ve decided already that I won’t quit. I won’t take a break.

I’ve decided to write now … not later …

Images from Zemanta

Looking Back to Look Ahead

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t really believe in making New Year’s resolutions. In all my years I’ve never made it through March of the new year doing all that I resolved.

So … I’ve stopped making them. And this year is no exception. I won’t make resolutions but I will set some goals. Okay so I just use a name with less of a stigma …

But before I can look ahead I need to take a brief look back at 2012. I need to consider what I accomplished, failed at, and overlooked to determine what I should focus on in 2013.

Seem reasonable? It’s harder than I thought it would be to capture my year accurately.

2012 Year In Review

Writer Me

I decided or better yet declared:

I am Writer,
hear me roar.”
Or purr.
Or whimper.

It just depends on the day within my world.

In response to my declaration I started this blog as a way to write regularly; gain momentum; earn experience; and learn to deal with rejection.

And it’s served its purpose. I write every day even if the words don’t make it into a post or into my manuscript.

And I’ve learned a lot about writing. Sometimes it’s good and other times it’s not. I can easily psych myself out based on the latest advice I read. But still I committed to accountability with two partners and attended my first writers’ conference.

I haven’t forgotten that after the conference I committed to accountability to all of you … sharing more about my WIP. I am getting there. I am shy and anxious about it. Please be patient.

That's me ... the Middle Sister who's sweet and sassy. I wish I'd thought of naming a wine like that.

That’s me … the Middle Sister who’s sweet and sassy. I wish I’d thought of naming a wine like that.

Sister/Daughter Me

I reconnected with my family: brothers and sisters; niece and nephews.

Living at a distance has been a great excuse not to engage in what’s going on with them. I could keep it light and uninvolved.

Yet most of 2012 was spent wondering: How can I deepen relationships? Investing in others and being willing to take on their crap is part of it. That means family too. And distance isn’t an excuse in the technological world we live in.

No more excuses.

Parent/Wife Me

I watched myself grow up as a parent this year. Sounds strange I know.

My angry voice is lessening. I am slowly decoding my normal tendency to yell first and “use my words” second. It’s a wonderful thing to see how my mood influences my whole household. And, it’s important for me to show them how to manage their emotions rather than telling them.

It’s come in handy as we’ve traveled this first full year of my husband as pastor. With him working 3 nights a week, I am the constant for the dudes. Right now I hold us all together.

We added a Family Night to our schedule which doesn’t get touched by anything. We don’t accept appointments on those nights. It’s the one day each week we are intentionally together. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Coming into my own.

This is the sum of my 2012. The highlights reel so to speak. My life is pretty homey really. Not a lot going on.

2013 Year in Preview

Writer Me

 

Reading Like a Writer

Reading Like a Writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to read two books on writing this year. I have one picked out: Reading Like a Writer. Plus, I want to read at least one book outside of my regular reading and writing genre of YA fiction. And, I will continue my weekly and monthly accountability with my partners in crime. Love ya guys.

Also, my goal is to have a first (rough-rough-rough) draft of my novel in progress. Hovering, just shy of 40,000 words. Goal = 90,000 by August. I know … it’s been slow going up till now. But my characters haven’t been speaking as much or keeping me up at night with ideas.

Blogging will be at a slower pace. Still interesting and engaging. PROMISE.

Sister/Daughter Me

I will continue to call home (weekly) and chat with my family and live life with arms linked. Hopefully, I will have one of my nephews living with me in 2013 for college. Who knows?

Parent/Wife Me

I will continue to take deep breaths before responding to a whine or foot stomp or a flippant word. Living moment by moment here.

And Family Night will involve some fun things like dessert for dinner or movie theater popcorn. Who says balanced meals are what’s important? Isn’t it more important that we are together and talking about our lives?

I also have some craft projects planned … specifically I need to scrapbook the pictures from our 2012 Summer Vacation which my youngest dude still says he’s thankful for when we pray at night.

Maybe I’ll plan a Husband and Wife B&B retreat! 😉

Nothing grand or amazing in the year ahead. Mostly maintenance for things I’ve worked on in 2012. Or maybe there are great things lurking around the corner. And there will be ALL new adventures to share.

You know the drill … what are your resolutions or goals for 2013. Or share one of your favorite moments from 2012.

Happy New Year!

Some Photos from Zemanta