Uncategorized

A Crushing News Week


On Craft:
Sometimes it is necessary to abstain from work. There are times when closing my eyes against the world’s troubles is the littlest thing I might require. Only the journal matters, the blank page, the pen, the awful feelings.

On Creativity: I have been having wonderful fantasies. I’m not writing them down, only relishing. This week, in my imaginings, I won the lottery, purchased a small apartment in Paris, ate savory meals on the balcony of my lovely beachfront property in Venice Beach. My dreams have been very wealthy and free.

On Me: I’m listening to Chanel Miller’s audiobook Know My Name, remembering how easily one can become undone. I played sections of the book in the car with my teen son, wanting him to witness her shattering, wanting him to know that a brokenness like that is real.

120 Writing, Uncategorized

On Defense

On Craft: Yesterday I read Hanif Abdurraqib’s The Paris Review column. In On One On One he writes, “Defense is solely an act, a willingness to be fooled.” I can’t stop thinking about how foolish I’ve been these past forty-one years.

On Creativity: If writing is a conversation between the author and the reader, it turns out that while I have not yet uttered a single word to another living being through text, I have proven myself to be a wonderful listener. It is my turn to speak. I must prepare my voice.

On Me: As of this writing, I am six days into the new year, six days into a journey I am yet wary of. I am placing one foot before the other one toe at a time. Only God knows how far I’ve come. Only God knows how far I must go.

120 Writing, Uncategorized

An Update: Craft, Creativity & Me

On Craft: One of the writers in my monthly group recommended Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I’m in forty-four pages and have just learned that there is no point to my story. I’ve been working on my novel for three years.

On Creativity: Does forgiveness factor into creativity? Does it close doors? Was my transition already available before offense came? Is forgiveness closure, a last stop for unwanted travelers? If so, I want to offer it. My offenders don’t deserve to come with me, not any further.

On Me: When I try to hear my unhealed heart sifts through voices, stories, intentions, and gives name… good, bad, liar, Ahab, Jezebel, manipulator. I know that I have no right to judge. I want to hear clearly.

Uncategorized, Writing Goals

What’s the Excuse?

I worked at home for a month. An entire month. I had a plan: wake up, attend to a few chores, make tea, report to my home office, turn on the computer, spend the mornings on work-related tasks and during the afternoons, write a novel. Easy enough, right?

For years, I thought my day job was to blame for my apparent lack of creative discipline. I thought I was spending too much time and energy at work. I thought I didn’t have the brain power left at the end of the day to be creative. I resented my responsibilities. I thought they were robbing me of productivity.

After a month of sitting in front of my computer without writing, what I realized was that the only thing stopping me is me. Not a lack of time, not a lack of energy. I lack discipline.

My blog posts are all the same. I am constantly coming up with different strategies that never work. I make excuses. In the meantime, everyone else I know is making progress with their creative projects, full-time job or not.

I don’t have the answers on how to go about finishing. All I know is that I really want to. I want to commit to myself and to the work. And I don’t believe its too late to figure out how.

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2020 Goals: #1 Adding Backstory

Last week my writer’s group met for our first meeting of the year. I was an hour late because of an extended church service and arrived just in time to have the first four short chapters of my novel critiqued 😟.

I didn’t get terrible comments but what I did get were lots of questions regarding my characters and their motivations. Although I could provide ideas and explanations that were none too convincing even to me, I realized I didn’t honestly have any definite answers.

During my MFA years, I thought creating a character diary was a waste. I figured that as a true pantser it would all work out. Plus, I only had so much time to spend on writing. There were always due dates and other responsibilities looming over my head.

That’s not the case now. I don’t have a lot of free time but I do have just enough to take my craft seriously. So, for the next two weeks I’m going to finally create my first character diary. I’m going to set a goal to break down the backstory of every character in the novel: their childhoods, their hopes, dreams, family dynamics and motivations.

If do it right, by the next meeting I should be able to answer any questions that may come my way. If I’m lucky I may have enough info to write a short story or two to send out for publication.

Uncategorized

Nanowrimo 2019 – It’s a Mood

Nanowrimo starts this week and I’m preparing for it by lying on my couch with an entire blanket coiled around my neck. (My throat hurts and I’ve convinced myself that the blanket is a healing agent.) I have a mug of salted caramel tea steaming on top of my Star Trek: The Next Generation coaster, a handful of cough drops, and yesterday I checked Dreyer’s English out of the library. I’ve already read the first chapter. As far as I’m concerned, I have my tool kit! I’m ready to write.

For reasons I’m not entirely sure about, I chose not to prepare an outline or chapter guides… and I barely remember the names of the characters I was hoping to cover in the next sections of the story, but I have hope. I hope that when I sit down in front of my laptop the words will pour out of the large black void I call my imagination and ooze onto the lines of my Google Doc’s page. I hope that whatever talent I was able to muster during my two and a half year-long master’s program will snap back into place.

I haven’t won Nanowrimo since 2015. I haven’t been consistent about writing since I finished my MFA and I need a good kick in the butt. The judgmental gaze of my family hasn’t done the trick. Maybe the 50,000-word count goal is the answer. Maybe Nanowrimo will reignite my focus.

Uncategorized, Writing Goals

Countdown to Excellence

I have no idea if anyone noticed, but I added a countdown clock to my page. I am going to finish the first draft of my first novel by the end of 2018. I’ve decided. More than once. And I’ve said so on this page several times.

But as I sit on my couch staring at the wallpaper on my TV screen,  with a thousand important things to do looming in the background, and buried under the weight of the many promises I’ve failed to keep, I’ve decided I’m going to do my best with this one. Why not make another promise?!! What will it hurt?

As I’ve tired of lying to you, I won’t say that I’ll post my progress, but I hope to. I hope to report that I’m progressing like the good and committed writer that I could be if I only put forth a bit of effort. I can do it. I know I can. Just you wait and see!

Believers, Encourage Yourself, Uncategorized

Renewed and Ready?

Today is Sunday – my favorite day of the week (until about 6pm, when it really sinks in that I have to report to work the next day). Don’t get me wrong, I love Saturdays. Saturdays are wonderful, but often busy with errands, chores, and other responsibilities. Sundays are supposed to be chill: church, a good meal, a few hours of relaxation.

desk-keyboard-typing-8264When I woke this morning, my plan was to write out my schedule in my planner, post to each of my blogs, read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and start my Camp Nanowrimo writing. It’s after 8 PM and so far, I have completed none of those things.

Today, my pastor told the congregation to be doers. At the time, I took it as “go do something,” but I think he meant more than that. I think he meant, become a doer. It felt like my pastor was saying, do something consistently and your reputation for doing will proceed you.

This year, all of our sermons have been about real change. This blog was supposed to reflect that. I’m trying. My hope was to work a  little bit by little bit, one word at a time, one decision at a time. Luckily, it’s not too late to start. I can still win Camp Nano. Today’s only the 8th. I can read a few pages of Gilead before I turn in for the night, and I’m typing my post now. I’m doing something. I’m moving forward.

Believers, Time Management, Uncategorized, Writing Goals

Write the Vision

My uncle just sent me a text that said “Write the Vision.” I’ve been told that by different people more than three times in the past two weeks.

I have several apps that are supposed to help me do just that: goal apps, to-do apps, habit trackers. You name it, I have it.

There’s gotta be some truth to the advice. I listen to several productivity podcasts, get a half dozen motivational emails and texts, and they all seem to come back to:

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2 King James Version KJV)

Which leads me to ask, “Am I supposed to be running?” Until I copied that verse into this post, I’d never noticed the second part of the scripture. I don’t run!

I tackle my to-do lists a little at a time. I procrastinate. I linger over the checkboxes on whatever app I’m using and do little. WHO KNEW I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RUNNING?!!! And I bet it’s a long race. The Bible is big on endurance.

For the record, at the time of writing I feel tricked, bamboozled and downright lazy. I’m out of shape. I wasn’t ready to run. I was barely ready to walk fast and now the stakes are higher! THE STAKES ARE HIGHER!

I’d better order some running shoes. I’d better learn how to stretch myself.