What I Learned at Jot

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

I believe it’s important to continue to grow personally and learn new things, despite being a creature of habit. There’s a saying:  Knowledge is Power. Maybe you’ve heard it before. Anyway, this is the reason I encourage all writers to attend a writing conference.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a local event … one night only … four short hours … with writing time built in. JOT:  the GR writers mini-conference.

It was a great event. I dare say special. And what made it extra special, is my hubby went with me and we made a date night of it.

The most valuable lesson I learned at JOT wasn’t a specific bullet point from a specific presentation. It was the entirety of the experience. The most valuable lesson was steeped in reflection. Like hot water is to a tea bag, JOT was to my writer’s mind. Extracting the full flavor.

It finally occurred to me … What I’d failed to recognize before was suddenly clear. And I smiled to myself as I sat soaking up everything this event had to offer, sipping coffee with my notebook open, and my husband sitting next to me. Ahhh … the moment of enlightenment.

You’re wondering what I learned and why I was smiling?

I realized that I couldn’t appreciate the message of each presenter or the questions of each writer without having already failed at their writing advice.

Huh? Yes, there is something to be said for the try, fail, and adjust process.

Let me explain …

One presenter said, “Write your first draft as quickly as possible,” which is great advice.

The reason? Your writer’s voice changes over time. Each book or article you read or write; each day that passes and experiences lived cause you to evolve.

So the quicker you put all the words for your novel down the better it is for keeping a consistent voice and minimize some editing as a result. Makes sense.

But as someone who is well into her second year of a first draft (writing in the gaps of life), I can totally see it. When I read the earliest parts of my manuscript I can recall what I was reading and see how it influenced my output.

Do you see? I wouldn’t  have been able to wrap my mind around this concept if I weren’t living the failure of it already.

Another presenter talked briefly about platform. That all important word that strikes fear and stress into writers. Because we have to figure out how to use social media to gain a following of engaged readers.

He said, “The number one reason books are turned down [for publication] is lack of platform.” He defined platform as the ability to promote your story.

I understand how important platform is. Still I struggle with it. I worry, wonder, and doubt what I should or should not share. Is it worthy or value added?

And even though I’ve garnered around 200 followers between my blog and twitter account, I dare say only a handful are “engaged”. If I weren’t in the process of building my own platform this advice wouldn’t resonate with me.

Trying and failing is a remarkable teacher. If we adjust our actions based on where we fell short and what we were trying to achieve we stand to accomplish something great.

So don’t be afraid to jump in and just start.

Now you may think I’ve contradicted myself … I still advocate for attending writers’ conferences and applying practical knowledge gained.

Just remember there is plenty of advice out there on writing. Some of it is Best Practice and shouldn’t be ignored, but it doesn’t mean all of it will work for you.

I’ve learned a lot about my writing process just by trying. And I’ve learned a number of things by following the advice of others.

I appreciated my experience at JOT for the epiphany and because they delivered exactly what they promised:  Meet. Learn. Write. Looking forward to the next JOT.

What life event led to your most recent “aha moment”? Do you learn best by doing or from instruction? Feel free to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your story.

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Something Got Done

 

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2013 the Jotter’s Joint

Oh Yeah!

Thanks to my writing partner I set out to make the most of writing in January. I decided to make it A Month of Something.

And thankfully, I have the privilege of announcing that Something Got Done … Lots of something … I was able to check something off my list time and again.

As stated in the original post I didn’t want to focus solely on word count for fear of paralysis.

Instead, I focused on days/times writing. I focused on addressing open plot questions. I focused on new scenes without looking at old ones. I focused on character development. And, I focused on moving forward.

All that focusing on SOMETHINGS led to RESULTS.

Somethings” to Celebrate:

  1. The End – As I stated in the A Month of Something post, I wrote a 400 word scene of what I envision being the end of the story. Can I get woot-woot?
  2. Finishing Scenes – I wrote two scenes that I’ve been putting off since summer. I had one sentence descriptions and now they’re done. They are rough but have so much potential. Raise the roof!
  3. New Scenes – I wrote two new and unexpected scenes. Also, rough but ripe with potential. One Love!
  4. Characters – I discovered that my comic relief characters have British accents. Who knew? Nervous about how to write it well but it plays marvelously in my head. Throw your hands in the air…
  5. Planning – I actually sat down and revisited my story “outline”. Made some modifications based on where the story is right now. …and wave them like you just don’t care…
  6. Research – I did some. I looked up education requirements and credentials that my grief counselor would need to possess. I requested input on linking two worlds within my story. And, if you didn’t already know, this is my least favorite part of the writing process. Or, to state it plainly: I hate research. So this is a huge victory. Can I get an amen?
  7. Images – I found some great pictures to represent my characters quirks or personalities. That’s how we do it …
  8. Writing Days – I checked my writing notebook and have identified 10 novel writing days since January 1; 5 of which were consecutive. Thank you very much. This doesn’t include blog post writing days … or the days that aren’t captured in the journal. Woo-hoo!
  9. New Words – I wrote 3,378 words in one month. That may not sound like much to some of you but it’s the best writing month I’ve had in a LONG time. High five!
  10. Word Count – My “ungoal” … without trying … by focusing on other aspects of writing … I broke the 40,000 word barrier. Now I have to say … I’ve been hovering so close to this for SO long that I nearly cried. As, I write this post I am at 42,631 words and that doesn’t include the dialogue I need to type up from my last writing day. CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!
  11. Birthday – And I turned another year older, wiser and willing-er to chase my dream. Bonus!

Again, these may not seem noteworthy to you, but I am excited about the progress and direction. I am excited that I had wins instead of losses.

I am grateful for my writing partners (and you … you know who you are) who graciously tolerated my tweets, emails, texts, and now blog posts, about how it was going. Thank YOU for the love!

Switching my POV about writing my novel and what’s important reinvigorated me. I’m still in love with my story! I encourage you to measure something different to spark your creativity and drive your momentum.

Thanks for celebrating with me! Cheers~

A Month of Something

Month of Something Calendar

©2013 the Jotter’s Joint – My Month of Something

During our January accountability call, my writing partner, Talli (enJOYin’ Life), and I bemoaned the fact that we’d failed to meet our December writing goals.

We talked about the obstacles we faced: balancing time with family and friends, being out of our routines due to vacation and holidays, and just wanting to do nothing for a little while.

It was one of our toughest conversations in the eight months or so that we’ve been holding one another accountable. Tough, for me, because the do-nothing aspect of time off was so appealing. I needed it.

At the same time, the conversation gave way to epiphany. I realized what part 3 of my book should be. Or, at least, one component it should include. This gave me momentum in planning, which I’m almost convinced would be better than just seeing where the story takes me. Note the word “almost” in that sentence. My writing process is still discovery.

The best part of the call was setting new goals to accomplish in January. And, hearing my writing partner state: “This is going to be a month of something …” Unlike our December – The Month of Nothing.

She is right too. It will be a Month of Something.

For starters, I will celebrate my 41st birthday the 14th. Happy birthday to me! I am grateful for each year.

Second, it’s the month I will break through the barrier of writing I’ve been hiding behind.

How will I break through?

By writing those wonderful words: The End. Not because I’ve finished the novel. I’m not quite there yet.

Since the story idea came to me I’ve had the same image for the ending. No matter what twists and turns the story has taken, the end hasn’t changed. Regardless of the characters I add or kill off the last scene is vivid in my mind.

So, two days after Talli’s profound words, I wrote that scene. I attempted to capture the image of my main character closing a chapter of her young life; having evolved and matured.

I framed words to take me from my once-upon-a-time beginning to my and-they-lived-happily-ever-after end. Which of course isn’t really the end of Baby Girl’s tale; it’s just where I’ve quit telling it.

The scene is just under 400 words but fitting for the last moment. Now we’ll see if the ending starts to evolve just as the rest of the book has done.

Either way, I’ve accomplished something: new words on the page, vision for the next phase of the book, and The End.

This is a month of something.

However, I don’t want word count goals because lately they cause me writerly paralysis. Instead I will measure my “somethings” in time set aside writing. For a change, my “somethings” yardstick will account for me writing rather than talking about writing.

What will be your something this January?

Dreaming is Hard Work

dreams and wishes. 62/365

As the New Year rolled around, my mind immediately went to goal-setting and resolution-making, which is to be expected. But, the other night I realized it should have gone toward dream-chasing.

If you didn’t know before today, I’m here to tell you, being a dreamer is hard work. Don’t be fooled by those who make it look effortless.

For me, there aren’t enough gaps in a day, between what’s “required” and “expected” to contain what’s “desired”. It overflows and quite honestly my goals should lead me to my dreams. That’s the hard work part.

I never dreamed of success. I worked for it.” ~Este Lauder

Ask anyone who’s reached their dream and I’m sure they’ll tell you they had to fight for it. The movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, comes to mind. Dreamers often equate work with the realization of their dream.

Recently I noticed I have calluses on my hands. I’m not sure what has caused these rough patches to appear on my palms.

Usually calluses are associated with repetitive motion and hard physical labor. I think of cowboys or ranchers or farmers … not a person who sits at a desk all day and taps away on a keyboard.

Maybe my mind manifested the calluses in response to work I need to do; for the dream I am chasing.

But as a writer who aspires to novelist or finished first draft of my novel, I don’t think I should develop hardened patches on my hands even if they are the instruments for putting down words.

Wouldn’t I instead toughen the mind muscle; the imagination maker? And how would I know that I’ve toughened it up? Maybe this is it:

If you’re not lying awake at night worrying about your novel, the reader isn’t either. I always know that when I get a good night’s sleep, the next day I’m not going to get any work done. Writing a novel is like working on foreign policy. There are problems to be solved. It’s not all inspirational.” ~James M. Cain

For most of the holiday season, my characters have been silent. My main character, Baby Girl, didn’t say a word. She let me sleep in. None of my characters distracted me from professional pursuits or leisurely lounging.

To the point where I considered, for a millisecond, abandoning them to the unfinished projects pile. I didn’t though. I waited. 

Where was the hard work part in the past two weeks?

Please know that I was still going about the hard work of a writer.

I read … I buried myself in someone else’s story until mine called me back. I read three books and my writing partner’s manuscript. I listened to podcasts on writing and dreamt of incorporating the advice. I read blog posts and articles. I searched for writing rescues and conferences for 2013.

My dream of writing was still at the forefront.

Then came the familiar ring. “Vacation is over,” Baby Girl called out. “Back to work.”

I hit my normal routine and my characters met me there. I couldn’t fall asleep last night. I couldn’t quiet my brain. As I grabbed the notebook from my bedside table and wrote:  plot notes, character ticks, missed opportunity lists, and dialogue, by iPhone light.

My poor husband. He’s so patient with me.

I am excited again. Anxious, once more, as I rediscover their story. I am having “roar” moments instead of whimpers and whines. Frustrated and worried about how to make it all come together.

Dreaming is hard work. If you’re a fellow dreamer you know what I mean.

What’s your dream? And, what hard work comes with it? Do you have the calluses to prove the hard work?

Photo Image 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

Breathe Christian Writers’ Conference 2012: Goals & Advice

It was an awesome event. There was so much wonderful advice – actionable advice. (You’ll probably see quotes show up in other posts on writing in the near future.)

The question becomes:  Where do I start?

More than one speaker recommended that you set clear goals. It’s a theme of advice that I’ve taken to heart.
I’ve set three realistic and attainable goals coming out of this event. Goals that will stretch and grow me to reach them. Will you agree to hold me accountable along with my writing partners?

Goal 1:  Write My Elevator Speech …

Every position I’ve ever held, I’ve been told to have my elevator speech ready. I should be able to sum up my job function in the time it takes to ride an elevator a few floors; when asked:    What do you do?

I think the same is true for the question:  What are you writing? Only I don’t have that snappy response for my work in progress. I will start practicing now so that I can perfect my sound bite and not feel awkward.

Till this point I haven’t shared much about my WIP … but that will change with this goal … besides elevator speeches aren’t just for corporate types.

I’m writing a novel about life after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Have you ever wondered what happens next? I’m telling the story.

Intrigued? Okay, it’s a start. I’ll keep working at it.

Goal 2:  Do My Research

I’ve mentioned before that I hate research. It may be my downfall as a writer.

I’ve been living on the hope that I could get by with a simple read through of Lewis Carroll’s books. HA! I Sad, I know.

Dear Research, I’ve been avoiding you but I won’t be any longer.

I won’t be cutting any corners. Not after hearing presenter and author, Jocelyn Green state she spent nine months researching her first novel and three months writing it. My hopes were quickly dashed that I could some how “get by”.

  • Step One:  Finish the initial read through of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
  • Step Two:  Complete a second read through of each book.
  • Step Three:  Interview a grief counselor to determine how children cope with death of loved ones; specifically in cases of suicide.

Jocelyn Green also recommended getting to really know your characters by interviewing them. Click here to see the questions. This will be Step Four. By the time Breathe arrives next year – October 18 & 19, 2013 – I will have completed these “research” steps (and maybe a first draft of the manuscript). Sigh. No way around it.

Goal 3:  Post Consistently

This goal is blog related rather than novel related.

I started blogging in April with the goal that I would post every two to four days; which I did for the first four months. Then life got busy and hectic. I started slacking off, claiming that creativity doesn’t strike every day.

The inconsistency is disruptive to you as readers I’m sure; despite my belief that creativity doesn’t like cages. So, I will pick a day of each week that I will post. Sometimes you’ll get a surprise day added. But ultimately there will be one day a week that you can count on the Jotter’s Joint to give you a read. Hopefully, a good read.

Let me know if there is a day that you would prefer. If the requests are similar it makes my decision easier.

Hold me accountable.

Ask me how I’m doing toward my goals. Don’t let me off the hook. And if you have suggestions that would help me in any of these goals, I’d love to hear them.

Hold Yourself Accountable

“One day” is today or it never comes. What ventures have you been putting off? Don’t wait for New Year’s resolutions. Do it now. Write some goals today. Share with me in the comments the goals you’ve set and I’ll remember to ask you how it’s going.

Recommended resources that came out of Breathe 2012 for you writer types …

  • Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
  • The Art of Fiction:  Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
  • Craft of Writing by William Sloane
  • The Art and Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley M. Hall
  • Wrecked:  When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life by Jeff Goins
  • Getting Into Character:  Seven Secrets Novelists Can Learn from Actors  by Brandilyn Collins
  • From the Inside … Out:  Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck

I’d Rather Be Writing …

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. I enjoy it. It fills some of my basic needs like a way to earn a paycheck. It also gives me the opportunity to learn new things every day; the opportunity to educate others (to a degree); and there’s variety even when everything is exactly the same.

Oh and did I mention, I’m good at it. That’s not a brag, it’s a truth. I’m good at my chosen profession.

Can you guess what’s next? Can you hear what is coming? Can you imagine the word on the tip of my tongue, on the point of my pen?

BUT …

I wouldn’t say I love it. And it isn’t my dream. It wasn’t my first choice. Which is probably why I’d rather be writing?

Remember taking career assessments in school? You know that ones … based on your interests and skills, they tell you what potential careers you should pursue. Well when I took them in junior high and high school my current job didn’t show up on the list. None the less here is where I’ve ended up.

So what did show up on the list? Journalism. Every single time I took a career assessment. And that was the path I thought I would follow. I loved writing and reading but not research. I still feel this way.

I’m not a journalist but I am a writer. This is my personal declaration despite lack of publication.

I’d rather be writing … more than handwritten correspondence … more than clever blog post … more than emails and business letters.

I’d rather be writing more than anything else in the world. This alone makes me a writer, right?

 I find myself fully distracted at work and home. At the oddest moments I find myself craving a pen and paper or the click of my nails on the keys of my laptop. It’s so strong that I wish I could quit my job and walk away without regrets.

It’s NOT good. It’s NOT convenient. It’s NOT an option.

Do you have dreams or passions like this? A desire that’s all consuming? Feel free to share in the comments.

This distraction is paralyzing … You would think I’d be spurred on to write in the gaps of my days like a junky jonesin’ for a fix. But I don’t. Instead, I waste time watching TV or playing games on my computer (while I watch TV). I read or find any number of things to do with my time.

Why? When there are plenty of opportunities for me to focus on writing, the thing I’d rather be doing. Why am I squandering my dream?

It’s because it’s hard, as best described here by author and blogger, Jeff Goins. It’s because I’m most productive sitting at my desk at work in the early part of the day. It’s because I want it to be what I do in my “full time hours”.

Trust me … I know I need to use my time wisely so I can get to the point where I can transition to writing instead of carrying around this feeling. I will buckle down and get back to my novel.

Another personal declaration:  I am a full time writer, who’s on the road to writing full time.

Anyway, just so we’re clear. In case you missed the meaning of this post. Let me say it again … I’d rather be writing …

What would you rather be doing?

Speaking of Verbal Vomit …

verbal abuse

verbal abuse (Photo credit: iamsongs)

Here’s my rant. Not that you asked but I feel the need to share it anyway.

This week has been crazy. Crawl in the bed and curl up in fetal position kind of crazy. You know, the moment where you think:  “I hope no one asks me for anything because I have nothing left to give.”

Read my lips before I spew unnecessary (and possibly inappropriate) words on you:  NOTHING.

In the midst of the back-to-school process; figuring out a new routine (which have I mentioned I hate the change); attending open house and parents night; I’ve also had a sick dude. Strep throat. So, the past three days, my husband and I have been juggling schedules to make sure one of us is home to care for and comfort him.

But wait, there’s more …

My inbox keeps filling up with things that I need to do or respond to, both personally and professionally. Being out of the office doesn’t mean the world stops (although it would be nice if it did). This is one of my busy seasons. I was buried before my little guy needed the extra tender loving care.

Couple that growing work pile with an urgent and disturbing situation that I should have been outraged by but was surprisingly nonplussed. Shameful how desensitized we can be to truly poor behavior, attitudes, and opinions that are put in front of us. I wish I could share more on this topic but the details are confidential and my outrage, I think, is a slow burn.

All of these things together have eroded my patience. My mind wanders. I’m distracted. Hopefully, I’m not too mean. And I’m emotionally drained. It’s eating up all my energy.

But that’s not all …

I haven’t had any personal time to just be still. Solitude to rejuvenate. Silent time to think through it all. If I could just be separate and apart for a time, I wouldn’t be here hurling on you.

My writing has suffered too. When good ideas come I write them down in my notebook. I do my best to capture them … but I mean even finding the time to write a 500-word blog post has been difficult. Forget novel writing. My novel sits collecting dust on my mind’s bookshelf. An important part of writing, I’ve found, is time to just sit and think about writing. I need the “me time” to gather my thoughts.

“Calgon take me away.”

Do you remember this slogan? It’s sad when such a statement becomes your anthem.

Thankfully, someone took pity on me. A beautiful beacon of light. My dear friend and writing partner let me verbal vomit details all over her. She spared you the worst parts of the rant I have churning in my mind. Plus she sent me home with a cure for all that ails me … a box of tea bags and permission to have a quiet moment. Vanilla Caramel Chamomile sounds delicious but the Sleepy Time is what I am craving. I’ve reached my breaking point. I am scheduling a moment’s peace right now. Tonight I will recover.

I will lay my head on the cool tile floor of conversation, hugging the porcelain bowl of language while hoping I can just keep my mouth closed.

That is all … now my retching, I mean my rant is done.

My smile is back in place. My teeth serving as a stop-gate to any more blah blah blah blech.

Writing with Childlike Abandon

I have the benefit of seeing my boys chase after butterflies … laugh at the world … live a carefree existence for the most part.

I consider myself fortunate that they remind me daily that creating is easy. I’ve shared before how kids aren’t bound by convention but loved the way this author put it in a recent blog post, What Writers Should Do When Drawing a Blank.

Take time to read it. It made me smile to imagine it … I am sure it will resonate with my fellow dream chasers and bloggers and writers and artists and anyone who has ever had an oh-to-be-a-kid-again moment.

The Suspension of Disbelief in Writing

My boys know I am writing a novel. My oldest even remembers to ask me how it’s going from time to time. I love that about him. He’s very thoughtful.

Recently, he wanted an update:

“Mom, when will your book be published?”
“Well, I have to finish it first.”
“When will that be?”
“Next year I hope.”
“Okay. And then you’ll get it published.”

I love the fact that he assumes publishing is the automatic next step. He doesn’t know how difficult it can be. He doesn’t know that it may not happen. I am glad that he isn’t limited by the realities of chasing a dream. I hope he keeps that innocence.

I wish I still had the attitude of an eight year old; the child-like faith. Remember when we believed anything was possible? Remember feeling invincible? Remember thinking we would conquer the world? Well it’s still inside of you!

When I sat down a year ago to write my novel, I had this naïve outlook. Nothing was going to stop me. I thought it would be easy. What was my goal?

  • Goal #1:  90,000 words in a year and a completed manuscript.
  • Goal #2:  6 months to edit and send to publishers.
  • Goal #3:  Publish the manuscript.
  • Alternate Goal #3:  Self-publish. (Okay, so maybe it’s Goal #4)

And I wasn’t afraid. It was do-able. I believed I could pull it off. I’d made the decision. Nothing else was necessary.

Until I sat down to write. I wrote 4 paragraphs that were flat. They didn’t match the pictures in my head. I realized I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was still possible so I kept my goals intact and invested in learning what I needed to achieve my goals.

Writing is a process. It starts with an idea. Sometimes those ideas flourish and sometimes they fizzle out and die. Sometimes they can be resurrected.

I’ve talked about some of my writing rescues before. This one is new. I subscribe to a blog called WRITEtoDONE. In a recent post, Unleash Your Writing With This Trick from the Movies, they talk about “suspension of disbelief”. This concept helps me view my writing in a whole new way.

As August 31, 2012 draws near and I’m only a third of the way to my first goal, I’ve decided to reset the clock. I will add a year to my project counter in Scrivener. I’ll adjust the word goal accordingly.

I will sit down and write in a state of suspended disbelief. The realities of life won’t hold me back. My story will unfold as it does in my head. I’ll wait to ask questions like:  “Is this possible?” or “Is it realistic?” or “Will my readers believe this?” I’ll reserve my judgment on issues like:  “How will this plot idea work?” or “Is the dialogue authentic?”

My Suspension of Disbelief … my new affirmations …

  • I am a novelist. It’s possible.
  • I am an author who is invincible.
  • I can conquer the world of writing. Why not?

Reclaim your child-like faith. Believe again in the impossible being possible. Dare to tell people you’re invincible and then leap. Start conquering the world around you in every positive way.