120 Writing

The Struggle

On Craft: I watched a Tin House Workshop featuring Mitchell S. Jackson and Kimberly King Parsons. The topic was voice. What I want most in 2021 is to find mine, and not just with my work in progress but in every area of my life.

On Creativity: Published writers recommend daily writing. I want the successful writers out there to know that I’m sort of trying. Wait. Does this blog post count? 

On Me: I have become a slow reader. Before 2020 I was the Black Rory Gilmore. Before the pandemic I would take a book with me on walks and consume whole chapters while getting my steps in for the day. I was working full-time, raising a child and reading at least two books a week. These days I struggle trying to read two books a month. 

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

Without Grace

On Craft: The process of writing is not graceful. My process has been filled with false starts. My novel has tried me. I’m tired of talking about it, tired of thinking about it, tired of wanting it but yet I still do.

On Creativity: I’m nervous about what comes after, about what might appear around the corner. Will it be new? Will it be as it was before? I have no idea what to watch for. Change creeps so slowly that I can’t prepare. 

On Me: Some introverts shine on social media, especially writers. They glow in the face of strangers and know, almost instinctively, how to behave, how to interact, how to appear confident before strangers. They trust their words out in the open, alive. 

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.

Writing Goals

Writers Write: Five Hundred is the Goal

It’s no secret that I have trouble committing to anything I’m not getting paid to do. I also procrastinate. For instance, I was supposed to write this post on Sunday evening. I can’t imagine that I was doing anything that would have warranted my not writing the post then. I had the task written on my calendar. I had the freedom and time to keep my word to myself.

I found last week that in order not to lose the voice and tone of my novel, I need to work on it daily. I didn’t just pull this goal out of the air without reason. So, I’m going to fight to keep it. Even when it mess up. I’m going to keep trying.

This weekend I said I would give myself the goal of writing five hundred words towards my creative writing project a day. Even while exhausted I should be able to keep this goal. Even on posting days. I realize I may miss Wednesdays – that’s a day where its normally impossible to find the time to do anything. But on every other day of the week, I’m going to make writing a priority. I deserve this commitment to myself. Wish me luck.

Uncategorized

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.