Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil

I've been working productively again. I had one really good night and a few so-so nights, but at least I've finally paved over the pot hole, that spot where my story kept sticking. I've bridged the transition and am on to the new stuff that's so much more interesting. It's fun again!

Note for future reference: when the story gets stuck, ask if you have enough story! Turns out the solution was I needed to add some other plot elements. I added two big events that give much more momentum to this section of the story. Now I can enjoy watching them unfold!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Plucking Away

I'm still plucking away in the same mired-down spot of my current WIP. It's frustrating, to be sure. I'm trying to break through, to push on, to get the momentum going again. It's slow, tedious, a veritable dry spell, but I'm not floundering: I do know the rest of the story. I'm just not focused as I need to be. Lack of sleep and too many distractions have a lot to do with it. I'll have to catch up on some sleep and set aside some quality writing time without the usual potential for interruptions. I can do it!

One of my distractions has been reading. I've found several terrific new blogs to follow and have started using a blog reader, instead of just visiting each blog each time I want to know what's new. The blog reader is really cool and makes it easy to browse through a number of blogs at once and read any new postings that are of interest. I know I'm late getting on the band wagon, but now that I've discovered how to use a blog reader, I'm hooked. I'll just have to manually disconnect from the internet to force myself to write!

Looking beyond the obvious . . . .

We grow over time. Sometimes the progress is dramatic; at other times it seems we're not moving forward, even though we are: we need time to internalize the growth. My perspectives on my work and writing career are shifting, maturing, deepening. I feel I am in a transition phase where I'm leaving behind the "trying-to-get-there" mode and am entering the "I'm-there-and-here's-the-proof" mode. Perhaps part of my problem with focusing is due to the fact that there is a lot going on under the surface right now. A major change is happening. Hopefully, I'm gearing up mentally and emotionally for a new push forward. I see myself getting things done in the coming months, finishing one manuscript after the other, rather than just struggling to complete a series of drafts that never quite reach their final polish. Certainly it's time I got there!

Philosophizing aside, I still need to chain myself to my laptop and get to work.

Yes, that's what I'm going to do, right now . . . sit here and pluck away at my manuscript, until I see the progress on the page!


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Importance of Being Cheerful

At times, writing is pure bliss. It moves you, stirs you, touches you to the very core. Ideas flow, the writing just happens, and the results are terrific. At other times, of course, it's hard to find an idea, no words will come, and whatever you get down on the page is not worth the trouble of reading it. It's during those times that we have to remember to be cheerful.

When I write, I can be any number of persons. I can assume the identity of any of my characters, or the prospective Reader, or myself at any of many ages or stages of my life. When the writing gets tough, however, my inner baboon comes out. I prance around, posturing, beating my chest, proclaiming loudly that I am better than this, that my writing should never suffer the doldrums. My primitive instincts come out and I'm not a joy to be around.

I realize that writing is 99% unfathomable process and at least 1% grace. I have to hold on to that one percent. I have to remember to act with grace under pressure. I have to let go of my inner baboon and try my very best to act in a dignified and pleasant manner. It's best to approach my work with a can-do attitude. I should be cheerful, and approach my work in a cheerful manner, even if I don't feel like it.

Putting on a happy face ultimately helps us find the joy within us, which can only help us as we press on through the ups and downs of the writing process.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Look

With Spring just a week away, I thought it was high time for a new look! For my blog, that is! I've lightened the page, inverted the colors (go figure), and decided to introduce images to help brighten things up a bit. I had to repost the last posting ("Spinning Wheels") a few times in order to make adjustments and get things situated right. At least now I know how to add the image and keep things aligned properly.

I think I also want to do something a little different with the content. My blog has gotten really BORING of late -- it bores me, too -- and that means I need to pep things up a little. I don't want to spend too much time blogging since I need the time for my writing, but I will try to find something at least mildly interesting to write about. This blog serves primarily as a way for me to keep myself motivated and focused, to keep on track over the long haul. However, I also have also used it to explore various aspects of the novel-writing process, and to share with my readers what I've learned along the way as I struggle to become a published author. I think I'll get back to the process comments, which were generally more interesting, and try to keep them on an even keel with the progress comments.

That's all for now, but I'll be back soon -- hopefully posting at least once a week again!


Spinning Wheels, Keeping At It

Hard to believe it's been so long since my last posting! It feels like I posted only a week ago. Time flies sometimes! I've been working at the present juncture in the story, where the plot transitions from the initial set-up to the middle of the book. I write, take it out, write it again, edit it, take it out, try again, over and over. I'm back in Chapter 7 and the word count is around 22k. I have several thousand words set aside from earlier progress that I can still draw from once I get past this juncture, but I have yet to feel I've got this part of the story "right".

Spending too much time in this one place is a sign I should just move on. I've been spinning my wheels and while things are better now, I'm losing momentum. I'm going to push on and let it stand as is, with its imperfections, and come back to it later for editing. I may just go ahead and break with the "3 steps forward, 2 steps back" approach that's been working so well up to now. I may just go ahead and blaze on through the rest of the story, to get it finished. I estimate another 40k to 45k words, maybe a little more. I want this to be a shorter novel, definitely no more than 70k. Momentum is important, and I've slowed this too much and am afraid I'll just set it aside if things don't get moving again. The story is still great, but I'm getting bored from too much repetition. I have to nurse myself along as well as the story.

One sign this is the case is I'm already dreaming about my next story. Boredom! Yet this present story is anything but boring. So, speed is now essential! I'll give myself permission to race ahead. After all, I can always go back. And back. And back.

By the way, Spring weather is arriving early. It's very much appreciated, but it leads to Spring Fever, which I want to avoid! Must finish manuscript, must finish manuscript! I will hold on and get this to completion -- I've seized the bull by the horns and I won't let go until this is ready to go out the door in whatever way I'm sending it out (just not to the garbage can).

Oh, and I've got a few ideas about what to do with it once it's done!

Keep on Writin',