Thursday Thoughts: On Writing Life

 

Back when I worked full-time in the Banking industry, I used to complain how I never had enough time to write.  I’d get up each weekday morning by 4am to get myself ready first, and then get hubby and son up before hitting the road by 5:45am for over an hour’s drive (in 35 miles) into downtown Raleigh.  I’d work 7am till 6pm (most days).  By the time dinner and homework are done, it’s easily 9pm and by that point, I’m ready to crawl in bed.   Weekends were usually reserved for catch-ups, house chores, and errands.  I’d managed maybe an hour of writing time each week.

Now?

With being “retired’ from the work force (am only 46) due to disabilities, I have loads of free time on my hands.   I’ve discovered, though, I waste a lot of time doing pretty much “nothing.”

Nothing being spending way too much time on social media, and watching internet-stream tv shows and movies.  Well, these were what I was doing for the past year and a half before depression hit me hard.

Or, perhaps mid-life crisis?

I found myself looking back, and wondering what did I have to show for being here on this world?  I really didn’t find a career I enjoyed (long story) so ended up in the Banking industry for the last 15 years of my working life basically as a glorified paper-shuffler.

Family put aside, I had nothing tangible.

I wanted more.  I desired to leave a legacy.

At this point, I’ve published several short stories, essays, and poems; but 99.9% are online magazines.

I now want more.

Something solid, concrete.  Something I can hold in my hands.  And smell.

This means I need to get serious, and smart with my time management.  I figure a way to start doing that is by tracking every word I write.

Daily.

This means less time with social media and other forms of entertainment.

I value my writing gift, and feel I have at least one book within me, enough so that I need to start valuing my time more than I’ve done in the past.

So, this is where I’m at in my writing life.  At a cross-road, and I’ve decided on the path to take.  Now, let’s see where it takes me.

Got to love adventures, eh?  🙂

What about you?  Where are you at in your writing life?  Are you happy with it?  If not, what changes could you make?

 

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Books and Reading and Reviews (Looking for Books to Read!)

 

I’m looking for one-three (clean) Romance books to read between now and January, and am open for suggestions!  I’d prefer it to be an ebook, but will take print versions as well.  If you’re an author of such book, please let me know a bit about your book’s premise to help me decide.   Whichever book(s) I decide to read, I plan to post a review on this blog by the end of January (if not, sooner).

You can let me know either via the comment section below, or through the Contact form.

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Writing: NaNoWriMo So Far

 

Today I’m sitting on 3,374 words which is quite poor IF I was shooting for 50,000.  I could be called (sort of) a NaNo Rebel in that I’m marching to my own tune this month.  I’m juggling three different writing projects:

  1. Serial fiction, The Hidden Realm: I haven’t started to work on this yet but the plan is to finish the second half of Part One.
  2. Novelette, Untitled: written 2,417 words so far.  Genre: suspense/thriller
  3. Interactive story, Untitled: wrote chapter one, A Snowy Reunion, which has posted on this blog earlier in the week.  Genre: TBD

Speaking of #3, be sure to read the chapter and vote in the poll included to determine future outcome of the overall story line.  The poll closes soon so I can start writing the next chapter so don’t wait any longer!  🙂

What about you?  How’s your writing going so far this month?

Reading: What’s Your Favorite Genre?

Books: Street Teams (Poll)

 

Don’t forget the great NaNoWriMo Debate! Ongoing ’till October 30th!  Are you “for” or “against” it?  Click on image for the original post to comment!

You Tube Tuesday: Dead Poets Society

 

Over at my other site, Only the Lonely Press, I started a new video series called, Dead Poets Society, where I will take a poem of a given poet (long since passed on) and create a video for it.  This one above is one of my favorite Robert Frost’s poems.

Below is a bit of a morbid poem written by Emily Dickinson which I absolutely love.

 

I plan to create more videos for this particular series in the near future.

Do you have any (short) poems by your favorite poets to suggest?  If I like it (a lot), I may just create a video for it!

 

Friday Thoughts About NaNoWriMo

“But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters.  In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.” -Emily Giffin

 

“If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” -William Faulkner

 

 

There’s currently an open debate about NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month).  Click on the image below to read about it:

 

There’s one post live discussing and debating about NaNoWriMo by Katherine Karch!

Want to add your opinion to this debate?  Follow the instruction above and we look forward to reading about it!

 

Difficult Writing Process (Poll Results)

 

The other day I posted a poll (both here and on Twitter) asking which part of the writing process was the most difficult.

Here are the results.

Twitter:

Marketing 51%

Rev/Edit 21%

Writing the story 21%

Coming up w/ idea 7%

 

Blog:

Marketing 56%

Rev/Edit 22%

Coming up w/ idea 11%

Writing the story 11%

Overwhelmingly, marketing seems to be the most difficult for writers.  The reasons?  There could be many.

One could be that the writer is an introvert, and finds the social media intimidating.  And speaking of social media, there are thousands and thousands of writers and authors on them trying to get their books and stories out in the world.  With all that noise, how does one writer or author find a way to stand out and be noticed?

What’s even more frustrating is that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditional or self-published, you’re still expected to do most of the marketing.

How does one even start?

Here’s an article I found that offered some insights: Marketing Your Books

 

According to these results, coming up with a story idea doesn’t seems to be that big of an issue for most writers.  I suppose what could be problematic is choosing which idea to use.  Which one will readers want to read?  Which one will I want to write a book-length manuscript, and not get bored half-way through?

For me personally, at this point in my writing career, the editing/revision is the most difficult part.  It’s like trying to get a donkey to do something it really doesn’t want to do.  Yeah, I can be that kind of a donkey.

Next!

Writing: Which is the Hardest to Do? (Poll)

It’s time to take a brief break from our writing to ask ourselves the following question:

The NaNoWriMo Debate: Are You “For” or “Against” It?

Take part in a debate and voice your opinion as a writer!

 

 

 

Click on link below to enter your post:
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=282069

or

Post your post’s link in the comment section below (same rule applies-one with the most likes, wins).

 

 

 

Writing: Finishing a Draft Dilemma

 

October.

This means that fall’s foliage is at its’ peak, and the sugar beet harvest is in full swing up here in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.

I woke up this morning to the ground covered in a thin layer of frost.  Even had to turn on the heat briefly.  With the warm air blowing through the vents, I counted at least four of my ten indoor cats huddled on top of them.

Darn, should have snapped a pic.

Next time.

October is also the month to prepare for NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month) so I’m taking a month-long course with Beth and Ezra Barany to help me plan a novel idea I have.

 

Like I said in a previous post, I have little problem with finishing short pieces, but a book-length?  It IS like running a marathon (I’ve ran 5-ks in the past so I can only imagine what 20-plus miles would be like!) where I almost always fizzle out by the middle, and that’s it.

Finito.

I either lose interest, or life gets in the way, or writer’s block sets it.

Excuses…excuses.

Excuses won’t get the book written.

I need to really look at why I’m not finishing.

Am I meant to be just a short story writer?

A poet?

I’m unable to accept that.

I can’t.

I won’t.

I may never be a prolific novelist like Stephen King or Nora Roberts, and that’s okay.   I just believe that I have at least one book in me that I must write.  And this what’s been driving me to try again and again.

A quote by Maya Angelou keeps haunting me:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Now that I’m middle-aged, I have this growing fear of dying before I’m able to complete the kind of writing I was meant to do.

It’s a horrible feeling.

One that’s growing worse by the day.

The only one book-length manuscript I managed came during the 2008 NaNoWriMo, and that’s because of my curiosity to see if I could actually write at least 50,000 words.

Since then, all my attempts to write another book have failed.

I think it may be because those stories were not meaningful to me.  They were just stories that I had a vague interest in, but as I laid down word after word, I lost interest.

I find that I can’t devote hours and days to something I have no real passion for.  Life is just too short.

In my heart, I’ve always wanted to write a story that revolved around fatherhood and daughters.  This desire…no, need have grown exponentially since my Daddy’s death in September 2014.

Three weeks ago, I saw a particular news article that gave birth to a story idea for such a book.   In taking the above course, I’m working to develop this idea, flesh out the plot/subplots as well as create my two main characters.  I plan to use NaNoWriMo as a jump-start to write as many words as I can, but the goal isn’t to win, but to ultimately have a finished first draft by the end of the year.

I believe I have found the reason and motivation to drive me to be successful this time.

Stay tuned for more later.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline

Available October 1, 2017. Click on image to purchase book.

Annalisa Parent, teaching extraordinaire and editor of Chair & Pen: Musings on Writing and the Writing Life, has come out with a new book called, Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline.

If you’re someone who tends to write on “the fly,” but always seems to have a problem either finishing or figuring out where the story’s going, this book is for you.

Annalisa, a Pantser herself, understands how other fellow Pantsers tend to lose their way when they write a book because of the unorganized fashion of their creativity.  This book aims to help them–you— find your way through the “muddle” quicker.

How?

By finding the patterns (or theme) in the story, and then build upon them.

This book is not your typical how-to-write book.  The instructions and examples are not in your usual cut-and-dry and formal format.  This is nothing like an ordinary book about writing.  Did I say that Annalisa is a teaching extraordinaire?  Well, she proves it in this gem.  Her presentations throughout the book are personable, easy to grasp, and her witty sense of humor and uncanny culture references make for a truly enjoyable learning experience.

Annalisa believes in taking the whole writer in account and not just about providing knowledge.  For the first part of the book, she turns her attention solely to the writer.

You.

Knowing and accepting yourself for who you are as a writer is half the battle in your journey to becoming a published author.  She talks about brains, and how Pantsers are who they are because of the way their brains are wired.  She talks about how we tend to limit ourselves by giving in to our fears, and how the wrong kinds of feedback could damage our future as writers indefinitely.  Annalisa shows us how to turn all of this around.  How to manage the fears and find the right kind of feedback needed to move our writing forward instead of backward.

Annalisa firmly believes that having the right mindset coupled with positive support could mean the difference between having a publishable or an unpublishable book.

The focus of the second half of the book is on the writing craft as she breaks down various parts such as character development, plot structure, conflict, setting, pacing…all geared for Pantsers.  She provides tips and exercises on how to take what you have and improve upon them rather than change everything.   Annalisa is a firm believer in NOT interrupting the creative flow as you create your story; but to take what you have created later on and make them better, interweaving them together so they become connected as part of one seamless story.

Annalisa truly understands you as the writer, and takes a holistic approach to helping you reach your goal-having a complete and publishable book.  This book is unique and a joy to read.  You learn more about yourself as a writer, gain the confidence needed to move forward while enjoying the journey.

 

Life Imitating Art (or is it the other way?)

Click on image for original source

 

The other day I posted a poll that asked a question on whether you believed life imitated art, or art imitated life.   If you like to voice your opinion, here’s the poll.

 

Oscar Wilde believed that-

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.”

But, I believe Fyodor Dostoevsky hit closer to the truth –

“At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art.Then life will find its very existence from the arts.”

Here’s what Aristotle had to say about this:

“Art not only imitates nature, but also completes its deficiencies.”

“Art completes what nature cannot bring to finish. The artist gives us knowledge of nature’s unrealized ends.”

 

What are your thoughts and opinion?

Art and Life (Poll)

2017 National Novel Writing Month (Poll)

What If There Was No Internet?

 

What if there was no internet?  Whether it crashed due to an electromagnetic storm, or a massive meteor shower took out most of the satellites…and the internet is now GONE.

As a writer, how would you function?  How would you go about sending out your stories to the world?

Would you still keep writing?

So many completely rely on technology (namely internet) to get things done, and to communicate with others.   Would we be able to revert back to the “old” ways of doing things?

Scary thoughts?

 

#ThursdayThoughts: What IS Success?

 

Many writers feel that touching even one life is success.  Not by how many books one published, or by how many awards one garnered; although these are VERY nice to have.

For some writers, writing goes much deeper than any physical items or accolades.   It’s about using their gifts as storytellers,  healers, change-makers for the sake of others.

Success is based on the number of lives impacted.

What about you?  How do you view success as a writer?

Writing: Is The Novel Becoming Obsolete? (Poll)

Writing: Ever Surprised Yourself?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question is: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?

 

I think every writer has a moment when he or she goes back to read something one written eons ago and wonder who on earth wrote this magical piece?  I’ve had a few of these; but, I think I’ve surprised myself the most when I attempted to write poetry years ago.

I read poetry when I was in high school because it was required reading; but the ones written by Robert Frost and Walt Whitman stuck to me the most especially Road Not Taken and O Captain! My Captain!  I never really attempted to write one though feeling a bit intimidated by the poetic forms these poets used.  I thought I never could write anything wonderful like that.

Fast forward twenty plus years.  At this time I’d been working in the banking industry, and I’d recently learned of a coworker who was a poet.   From her, I heard about NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) and decided to give it a whirl.  I searched online for a simple poetic form to try and discovered haiku.

Here’s one of my earlier haiku:

Longing to connect

-to fill the hole of one’s soul

butterflies entwined

I became hooked on writing haiku and micropoetry in general.  Eventually I began creating my own forms using various number of syllables.  Here’s one of my favorites I wrote a few years ago:

Seekers

Ocean waves pound on

the sandy shores, carrying

away the deep scars;

sandpipers scuttle with the

milky foams, seeking

nourishment for the lonely

I don’t consider myself a poet, but I love writing poetry (namely micropoetry).

What about you?  Have you ever surprised yourself as a writer?

 

 

What’s this group about:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.
(Taken from their website: Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ThursdayThoughts – August 24th, 2017

 

Writing is always a process of discovery. I never know the end, or even the events on the next page, until they happen. There’s a constant interplay between the imagining and shaping of the story.-Kim Edwards

 

Writing is a struggle against silence.-Carlos Fuentes

 

Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.-Meg Cabot