This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week. I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be. I was on the road this week with work. It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about this little adventure I was on. Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking. It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.
I thought about quitting. I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better. It did not and I considered giving up for this year. Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas. She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list. The other five are just there for moral support. She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well. In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems. It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.
I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it. If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet. Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are. I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be there for virtually. I plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line. I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.
Well I am nine days into this adventure and still going strong. I have written just over 14,000 words. This is good in that I am on target to finish if I continue to write like I have been. But when I think about my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month it is true that I am not very far in the process. I sometimes wonder what I have written so far, and RangerSir has hinted he’d like to read it. I have started this process before and not finished each time so am going to write until the voices in my head tell me it is over or the end of the month whichever comes first. No getting diverted by early editing.
The good part of all of this writing is that for the most part my real life has not gone down the toilet or put on hold because I am spending all my time writing. I still have a my job and show up and work each day. I am carrying my load around the house, not letting RangerSir do a disproportionate amount of the general household chores ( I have a white chicken chilli in the crock pot, my last load of laundry in the drier, and manged to go to down and grocery shop before the mega storm arrives). I still have carved out time to enjoy some of my other creative ventures including teaching a class, making some cards, blogging a little and reading some for pleasure. Now that it sounds like I am having it all that is not true, my exercise program in almost nonexistent and I have two Christmas gifts to make that are not even started. Life isn’t perfect but it is damn good and someday who knows I may call myself a novelist. You just have to write one not publish one to call yourself novelist, but if I get lucky I could do both.
Now it is time to close this off and get back to the business of writing.
I have taken a fair number of writing classes. Most of them have revolved around business writing. I have mastered the fine art of writing proposals, documenting businesses operations, and general written communications. In the course of my career I have learned how to use general business writing skills and developed my technical writing skills. I can write text for websites taking into consideration how it will affect SEO (search engine optimization). I have been doing this all long enough that it comes easy.
I have recorded family history and taken classes to help me learn how to take dry dull, facts and figures and bring to life the people who I have researched. This works writing style works well with my analytical brain.
Now I am writing my first novel and I have discovered I know almost nothing about the right punctuation for dialogue. I know the fundamentals of the use of quotation marks and where the comma goes but beyond that I have no idea. I am writing this novel pantser style so there will be lots of editing to do when I am done. I will be looking to take class, read a book or some other way to learn more about the right way to handle dialogue. Right now the ideas are flowing, and they say as long as that is happening if you are a pantser you keep on going.
They say in good dialogue writing the reader knows who is speaking without telling them. What a goal.
I am over 8,000 words tonight and I put in a full day of work. I am getting a blog posting written and I worked on a gift a bit tonight in my studio. Do you suppose this novel is providing all this energy?
Today I started my novel as planned. It started off pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. So far this writing my the seat of my pants has worked. I knew a few things about my character when I started and as I have written I have found out more about her. I am not kidding myself that every day will go so well or I will always find the so much time to write, but I am making progress. Watch how it goes on the right side of the page. My goal is 50,000 words by the end of the month. Who knows if 50k makes a novel or not, but it is a target to shoot for.
Many of us are sure that there is a book hiding inside of us. It is not likely the next great American novel, but a nice book in there that folks just might like to read if we just put down on paper. I am sure I have one or two, but just never seem to get off the dime and get moving.
At one time, probably the busiest time in my life, I belonged to a writing group when I lived in the Minneapolis metro area. It was a great bunch of creative women and they were both published and non published, back when there was no serious self publish option like there is now with Amazon. They were so supportive and willing to share. They came from a diverse bunch of backgrounds and wrote in the whole spectrum of genres. Some had a couple of names for the different genres they wrote in. If you need to find out a procedure someone was always willing to help you find a person who you could run your ideas past to see if you got the nuts and bolts of how it was done right. They knew chefs, chauffeurs, FBI agents, police detectives, corners, publishers, restaurant owners, wheelwrights, and any anything else you might need. I did lots of research, background work and my analytical mind went into high gear in all that “should do” stuff they tell you that you must do before you begin to write. It should have been the perfect group of people to write with, but my timing was wrong. I never got that novel written.
Well National Novel Writing Month is just about here again and I am going to give it a whirl again. Only this time I am going to be a “let’er rip” girl this time. There are novelists who just sit down and write by the seat of their pants and then go back and fill it in, edit it out, and make the story become a full-fledged novel. I am going to try that this time because the planning approach has not worked for me. I am now in the state of less than a million people, Montana, in one of the more sparsely populated areas and so that cushion my writing group gave me to research before I wrote is gone. I am going to write and when I find a spot I need some research I am going to punt my way through it and come back and find just who and what I need when the need is there and real.
It may be good. It may be bad. No matter, when the end of November finally rolls around I am hoping I have 50,000 words down on paper. A story, that may become a novel. It can’t be any worse than my previous attempt that never got out of the gate. Tomorrow it begins
I have been blogging now for just over four years. Sometimes I feel like what I write about is a bit of a retread, and I began to ask myself had this blog run it course and it was time to move on. I’ve spent lots of time the last a few weeks thinking about this and have come to realize that I am going to continue share my perspective of what I see when I look out on to the window of the world.
I am in the second half of life. I have a whole amazing collection of experiences to draw upon now. I think it is an interesting perspective, in that some of what happens to me is ” been there done that” and I am so much smarter now. Yet there is much of this happening for the first time. Those things that are happening first time are things, are likely such that my decisions ware more critical in that I will have much less time to make corrections and have fewer opportunities at re-dos.
In the second half of my life I am much more committed to somethings and willing to let other things go. I take much more joy from life now and this reflection about my blog has reminded me to not waste my time. There is lots more to write about, and even old things may look new. I am still passionate about life and writing. So I hope you will hang around on my blog for awhile longer and visit as I reflect on life as I look out the window. There will be more stories about wrangling my backyard flock of chickens, recipes and foodie stories, photos and sharing the beauty of nature, life with my friends and RangerSir along with reflections that come with life.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
With the advent of the E-reader life has changed for want-to-be writers. It has become easy to by pass the gatekeepers of what gets published and what doesn’t, the editors of all the publishing houses, and self-publish.
In some ways this era of self-publishing is good, because the big publishing houses have not always done a great job of recognizing a new author or genre. The famous 50 shades series began as self-published after being turned down by big print publishing houses. It was only after she self-published did she hit the NYT best seller list. I think part of it is because because this major publishers want to find that next piece of great literature, or Pulitzer prize winning title.
Most people read for relaxation, and what they read is a guilty pleasure. Most of what ends up on best seller lists never makes any literary milestones other than selling a ton of books. Mr. Ranger Sir reads classic sci-fi, though that genre is becoming so much more segmented and specialized I am not sure what sci-fi means any more. A friend reads everything Nora Roberts publishes. Another family member devours biographies everything from celebrities to historic people who changed the world. A cousin enjoys Christian historical fiction. My mom and her group of friends swap pulp romances that they read by the hundreds. I enjoy the “who done it?” with an imperfect middle aged female protagonist.
If you are a veracious reader it also an expensive habit. Prior to the E-reader you depended on friends sharing books, used book stores, rummage sales and your local library to make your addiction affordable. With the E-reader it takes a little more effort to keep your reading habit from sending you to the poor farm. E-books are often not lendable, or if so only once! Libraries are as a good of a deal as they were before you had an E-reader, you just need to get signed up and start checking books out. There are lending sites for eBooks out there, though not widely use I have found success with one (lendle.me) and will continue to put my purchased books out there, lending and borrowing titles. I also watch the daily Amazon top 100 free books. I have picked up titles that big names are a giving away for an hour or two. I have also taken out many unknowns. Some have prompted me to buy others by the same author. Others were worth just what I paid for them nothing. After a chapter and it is clearly not worth the read, I go to the end, give it one star and delete it. Without taking a minute to rate the book, you are doing other readers and the author a disservice. We all need feedback. If you want to write a review go for it, but just giving it a rating helps to let folks know if free is good or not. If you are the only one star it won’t make a difference, if you are part of a crowd who was disappointed the rating will help tell the story.
In the meantime summer is a great time for reading and relaxing may you find a great guilty pleasure.