One the things that feeds my soul is my creative pursuits. This new job has made it a little more difficult to feed that outlet. I work ten hour days in the field and spend my nights away from home. It has made access to my creative supplies limited and most nights my energy is completely maxed out. This said, I am not giving up on being more than a worker bee for four days a week.
I always have my camera in my work truck in case I come upon something great driving on the backroads of Montana. I have also started to explore some of the advance settings available on my smart phone, that I am starting to carry with me when I am out doing field work to capture some of what I see in “my office”. I discovered just this week my phone has a macro setting, that I can use for close-up photographs.
I thought I might do more with my writing this summer. I had hoped to start editing the novel I started in November nights in my motel room. I had hoped to do more travelogue blogging about what things and places in Montana. So far I have been doing my blogging at home and scheduling them for the next week. There have been no spontaneous blog posts. That doesn’t mean there might be one yet in my future. It is too soon to give up.
I planned to finish binding on three quilts that could be done if they had a binding. They have been around my house as unfinished projects for way too long. I imagined that I would finish the bindings in front of the TV in the motel room. Not having TV at home, I thought I would spend time watching things I don’t get to see at home. So far I have not found TV that I wanted to watch, so I guess it is okay that I haven’t even packed a quilt to take along at this point. There is so much I have to take each week, a quilt seems like just too much to tote each week.
This week I am adding my sketch book to my collection of personal stuff I take along in my work truck. I am not sure exactly why. I don’t seem to have any talent in the drawing arena, but it might be interesting to see what I put in there with a few minutes I hope to carve out when I break for lunch. Maybe they will be sketches, doodles, a few words or something else. I will pack some sort of pencil case at this point and call it another grand experiment.
This job is all about doing something out of my comfort zone and exploring life in a way I have never done before. I have always found that I often do my best thinking when I am being creative, so I am still figuring out ways to make it all work.
Tonight I am feeling under the weather and tired. I had convinced myself it was OK to skip tonight. Yet when I was getting ready for bed, I realized that it might not be my best effort, but the photo challenge was worthy of an effort. So I convinced RangerSir to be my hand model and started pulling things together to make tonight’s photo challenge happen. Here are the results.
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 recently completed a survey about grammar for a family member in college as part of a project. It will be interesting to see her survey results when she compiles them. I like to think I am fairly proficient in grammar since my I am required to write for my job and I have been a blogger for years.
When taking the test there were a couple of areas I think I stumbled in. It was a bit of a surprise, as I have taken quite a few English courses since high school. Not only have I taken general college English classes but several business writing, public speaking and creative writing classes. Along with that I keep a couple of English usage references in my desk drawer at work, that I reference when something doesn’t sounds just right.
One of the closing questions was about if I read text books about grammar. Of course, I answered that question NO. Who has time or wants to do that unless you are fascinated by the English language? It did get me thinking though that it might be time to brush up on my grammar usage. Just because it sounds right or everyone around her talks that way does not mean it is proper English. Maybe it is time for another writing class to brush up on my skills.
And you wonder why the dog does not follow basic commands.
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.