Saturday, June 27, 2009

When I first started this blog, I wasn't sure if there was a blogging community of people like me: the future professional writers, still undiscovered, staring down their keyboards with "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background.

Well, OK, that part might just be me. But the would-be writers, the semi-pros, that's a much bigger community. Not folks who necessarily have a big fan page set up yet, but people just talking about their writing journey. Every new blog I start reading, I seem to find links to some great resources, some new blogs I'd also like to follow. It's already getting hard to keep up with - there are so many blogs I want to check out (I do have a full-time day job and part-time school, so my running out of time does not equate to me being a total slacker. Really).

So I just wanted to mention a few of the writing blogs I'm reading, that you might enjoy reading as well:

The Writer's Cocoon. Stephanie blogs beautifully about the writing process (and the searching-for-an-agent process). If you enjoy my blog and a look into a writer's mind, you'll likely enjoy Stephanie's blog as well.

Practing Poetry. Whether you are a fellow would-be writer or not, you may enjoy Morrow's poetry. I read these evocative, image-rich poems and wish I were still writing poetry (my poem-muse seems to have jumped ship; thank God my fiction-muse is still bumming around the house and forgetting to put the OJ back in the fridge).

InkyGirl is a fun one to check out when you are procrastinating on getting down to work (Not that any of us do that, of course). She covers topics of interest and - best of all- creates original comics for writers. I love comics! Who doesn't love comics? I have include one of InkyGirl's comics at the top of the page (it would be down here, but I apparently have no control over Blogger yet. Sawwy).

Oh, my gosh. There's several more excellent blogs to cover, and I am out of time for this particular post. And I keep running into fun new blogs, too... well, I'll keep posting blogs I read & love as I run across them. And if you run across my blog, and seem to be a kindred spirit, please leave me a comment with a link to your site! I'd love to check it out.

Until next time...

*Cue music* So many times, it happens so fast/you lose your passion for glory/don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past/you must fight just to keep them alive... it's the eye of the tiger/it's the thrill of the fight...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I feel a little less horrid about myself as a writer already... I wrote a new scene for my fantasy novel, weighing in at 680 words - not bad work for half an hour. Not that I feel 100% sure about the writing itself (One of my characters said, and I quote, "You aren't a-bed yet, sweetness?")... but getting the words on the page is the thing, right? Anything else can be sorted out later in re-writes.

That's the theory by which I live, anyway.

Now to write a few hundred words tomorrow, too, and the next day...
...that not only am I doing a rather poor job of updating this blog, but also, all my posts lately seem to focus on procrastination and making time to write?

You are wise, O Reader, since you have deduced my secret. I am doing a crummy job of getting any writing done lately.

Here's the story (or rather, there's presently a lack of story-writing; we should probably just refer to this as the litany of excuses): My current day begins at 5am when I leave for the gym, I am at my desk by 745am, and I work until 430pm before driving the 1/2 hour to 45 minutes home (traffic dependent).

In the evenings, I attend school part-time, grocery shop, or go house-hunting with Handsome, since we are currently looking for a home (which will no doubt be yet more of a black hole in terms of my time, since I hear houses require maintenance and other ugly things). Sometimes, I make us some sustenance or toss in a load of laundry, although Handsome has taken over most tasks for me... right down to hand-feeding me homemade rice krispy treats while I crunch numbers for my finance class. Since we're new to the area, we're also trying to make it outside of the apartment now and then to make some friends, or explore the delightful city nearby (free museums! art shows! bike trails! great restaurants! theater!).

In other words, I haven't written a word in two weeks, other than this blog... and when I'm not even managing to write any fiction for myself, the blog itself seems a bit fraudulent.

You know, the journal I kept when I was a teenager was filled with angst, but I didn't realize the online one about writing was going to be quite this full of angst itself.

Oh well. Now that I'm settled into a schedule, I can work on carving out some time to write. Perhaps I can find someplace near work to take my laptop over lunch once a week, Maybe in the morning... nah, there's no way I'm getting up even earlier than 5am. Next idea. Maybe I can take a night off to myself to sneak off and write, or carve out a regular weekend date with the muse. I'll figure it out. I have to. I'm making progress on a lot of other goals right now, but not towards this "career novelist" bit.

However, right now, I have my homework done, my gym bag and lunch packed for the morning, and a sweet half-hour to myself. So I am going to go and try to make the most of this time, even though I barely know where to begin.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I read a short story when I was in high school that I can only describe as a cautionary tale for writers. It was the story of a woman (set in the pioneer days, oddly enough, as I remember), who is so busy raising her kids and taking care of the farm and whatnot that she never has time for writing. Instead, she lays pretty paper away in a drawer for someday when she has time. When her children have grown up and moved on, and she finally has free time, she brings out the paper, sharpens her pencil...

She can't think of a thing to write. Her writing gift has slipped away throughout years of neglect.

As a writer, I was alternately unsettled and outraged by this story. We all procrastinate -- that's the one sure thing about every writer (after all, we wouldn't write fiction if we didn't spend plenty of time daydreaming!). I hated the idea that, just because we were too busy for a week (month/year/decade), we might be able to lose the craft. Lose a little dexterity with dialogue or scene, perhaps; forget a thread that ran through a story, maybe. But not lose the idea of story itself.

I still think this is true. I think we should write now not because we'll lose our very ability otherwise; the only reason to write now is that you'll only tell this story, this once. Now when a memory is fresh or an emotion raw, now when there's a particular news story you're mulling over that will play out in your prose; now when you've just overhead a funny snippet of dialogue in the grocery that you'll find a place for. Write now so that you won't lose today's little details, the strange directions that today's thoughts can take you towards.

But if you don't manage to write today? If there's a big work deadline or a friend needs you or you have the stomach flu?

Well, then, there will be a whole different set of little details, a whole new story to tell, tomorrow.

**Bonus points for any reader can tell me the author or title for the story described above -- I've been wracking my brains and googling, but I am at a loss.**

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm a long distance runner. I ran track and cross-country in college, and I've run two marathons since. I'm currently training for the next. Distance running fills a void for me, because I find myself with little time in my day-to-day life for the daydreaming that is, I think, an essential part of writing. A nice six-mile run gives me the chance to go internal for a bit, let my mind wander.

I have a Nike t-shirt I wear that says: "If you started running when you started talking about it, you'd be done by now". It's true, the hardest part of running is often stopping, finding athletic socks, my iPod and my keys, and making it out the door. I love to talk running (obviously), but all the anecdotes from the past don't count for much if I don't hit the streets today.

Writing is the same - it's often easier to talk about than to do. It can be much more fun to tell someone your story's plot and to describe your beloved characters than to sit at your keyboard by yourself re-writing that damn paragraph four times because it just doesn't work quite right. And just like with running, there are a million other distractions that can keep you from getting out the proverbial door. When I hit a rough scene, I sometimes find myself thinking, "Wow, I should really put a load of laundry in/tidy the living room/start my homework/go for a run/update my blog".

I think I'm going to tape a post-it note to my computer that says, "If you started writing..."