Sunday, December 28, 2008
I'm just getting over the flu - hence my title. I have not written anything in a week and still feel like it may be a few more days until full brain functioning returns. I have not made it much further on my second book, although I have almost finished reading the book Paint it Black which is phenomenal. Really gets the brain buzzing. I'm finished with classes and have realized that a full time writing schedule is actually a challenge. The days seem to race by with only a few articles done or a thousand words. I think that I've just allowed my routine to loosen with the Holidays and all the chaos that they bring.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Well it has not completely gone, but just about. Amazing how quickly time passes. I could have sworn I had just updated this, only to realize that it has been a month. Anyhow, it's been a very busy month. I've passed the 30,000 word mark on my book and I'm "in it." I say that because I don't know how else to describe the free flow of thought that is sometimes there and sometimes not. Right now I am without any form of writing block; however, I am rather short on time. Between the nature association, classes, and my articles I feel constantly pulled away from my book. Not to mention, I've been sicker than a dog. I just got over a cold/sinus/chronic headache thing that lasted a week and left me feeling like roadkill. My husband and I have also been spending a lot of time with his uncle who is a third generation candy maker. I've learned how to make hand made candy canes which is pretty amazing. Okay I'm rambling here which is not productive, I'll return when I'm not so distracted.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Right now it is in the low 40's, the trees have done their collective upheaval, and the ground is covered in a layer of bone crushing frost that means starting the car, wearing a coat, and no more sandals. Fall comes and goes more quickly than any other season for me. As soon as we pause to look at the fall colors they've turned brown and crinkly and are laying on the cold hard ground of winter. But!!! Yes - there is a but, winter/fall is such a great time to write. It is the time when writing feels like the images in my head of writing appear. Fire places, hot coffee and tea, fuzzy slippers, dim lighting, oh and a laptop or notebook. It may be ridiculous that I cling to these fairy tale ideas of writing bliss, but they affect me in the same way that Christmas lights and snow laden branches do, like I'm a kid embarking on another joy filled holiday season. I specify kid because the adult holiday season is something else all together. Mangled carts thrust through 5 am store buster door ways, the psychotic rush for furbies or elmos, cooking dinner for nineteen people, overloading one side of the Christmas tree with ornaments and having it fall on you, shopping, overeating, more shopping, and then the shriek of horror at the balance on one's bank account come January 1st. This is a hypothetical holiday, I am not one of these shopping fiends. In fact, I avoid the grocery store during the months of November and December. I would rather haul out three year old baked beans and rotini noodles than face the grocery store mob clawing their way to the last jar of cranberry sauce. Really though, writing right now, in this moment, is made better because there is a fire burning behind me and I am wearing my husband's giant wool socks. This year I am thankful for that.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It is, coffee I mean. I have to have it. Not just because it gives me that much needed energy jolt, but because it improves my entire day. I am instantly at ease knowing that I have a steaming mug of black coffee sitting beside me at the computer. No need to get up, no worry of other distractions, I have my coffee. I am 22,000 words into my current novel and really enjoying where it is headed right now. The first novel is in purgatory, I may have to absolve some of my writing sins before it can be liberated to publisher's heaven, but hey no biggie, it's done right? I'm having one of these days where my preference is to write about personal things, but i try as much as possible to avoid that here. This is not my journal, it is my median for exercising my writing demons. Which means even if I want to wax on about my husband's stressful job I need to, instead, turn my thoughts towards grammatical complications and mouses that dive around the computer like kamikaze pilots. I have published a story at the Providence Foundation. It does not pay, but it still feels like a great way to get your work out there. Something about seeing it posted on any site, but your own is satisfying. This past weekend we removed the docks at the Island (this is what we call our cottage in northern Michigan). This process is like driving home from summer camp. I wave goodbye to yet another season of warmth and water and bliss to return to pavement, smog and suburbia. My husband often talks about how much more productive we'd be if we lived in a warmer climate. Is this really true? Do people in Florida and Arizona accomplish more than us Michiganders? I'd like to vehemently disagree with this claim, but I have to say it has some merit. I mean, during the winter I am always just one blink away from hibernation. I am attracted with a magnetic power towards anything warm, fuzzy and lazy. I would probably curl up with big foot if I thought he'd make a nice pillow. My days shrink from 12 hours to about 8 hours. I avoid showers or any instance where I am wet and stepping into a room that's 30 degrees. But how about these sun bathers then? Do they fling themselves from the covers every day with a smile on their face just because it's light out? Do they skip to their Volvo's, their shiny shoes tapping, and whistle while they drive to work? I sort of doubt it. In fact, I bet they think "if we just had some damn seasons, we might be able to get stuff done around here." How can I do spring cleaning without any spring? The truth is as much as I love the sun and summer and light at 8pm, I love Michigan too. In some sick weird masochistic relationship, Michigan is like my abusive lover. That's probably a really non PC analogy. Okay Michigan is like my deranged narcissistic cat that I try to snuggle with anyway. Does that one work?
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wow time flies when you're swamped. Mostly I'm writing, well and taking classes and tutoring Korean executives at 5 am each morning. I recently read the Twilight series which was phenomenal. I often shy away from young adult series, but I was wrapped in from page one. Which somewhat problematically got me on the track of wanting to start a young adult novel and put my current thriller on hold. I'm still up in the air for the most part. My finished novel is currently collecting dust, I haven't been querying agents because I can't seem to find the time, but I am writing articles. Not to mention that I'm swamped with press releases and guidebook synopsis for the Nature Association. Does this sound like complaining? It's not I swear, I love every minute of every day that my hands are on this key board. I'm just distracted I guess. I have three other windows open and I'm trying to write a query letter to a magazine. Okay that will have to do for now.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Life has come back full force. I am in classes, working on the second novel, sending out queries for the first, writing freelance articles, preparing to begin a journalism internship, and working a part time job ( oh and recently beginning to sell books on amazon). The day flies by in a flurry of words on the page, races to class, and an occasional sigh of overwhelming distress as I add another task to the list. But ya know what? It's fantastic. I am finally doing what I love. I am not getting up and shuffling in to a job that I'm unhappy with day after day. Instead I am writing and reading and analyzing. I find time to journal when I take the bank deposit for my part time job. In my previous life as a full time career woman I was lucky to get 500 words of anything done a day (reading or writing) now 500 words passes in about twenty minutes. There is no limit to my thankfullness for finally finding myself in this place.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
This is me struggling to get back into the game. I've been gone for a week in Vegas and a week in Vegas is more like a year on another planet. The real world disappears in a haze of free drinks, flashing lights, and glittery outfits meant to distract the eye and the mind. My writing has stalled and though I've been back for four days, this is the first actual writing that I've done in almost two weeks. I hate when I get in a groove and then life pulls me elsewhere. Now instead of hopping up at 6am for coffee, I'm hitting the snooze button, four - five- six times. But hey no complaints, I'm here right now, the words are on the page. Next week begins school again, more distractions, but these ones are relevant to my writing life, so that's just fine with me.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
It's 7 am, I'm working through my first cup of coffee and trying to get my brain back into "on" mode. My writing has been going very well lately, I spend every day from 9am (when my husband leaves for work) to 2:30pm (when I leave for work) writing. I apply to at least 2-3 freelance jobs everyday, submit at least one short story or query letter, and get about 1,000 words on my second novel. I'm 10,000 words in and going relatively strong. I have stayed on with my company in a very part time, very non-committal way, and may be phasing that out to tutor Korean executives in English (also very part time). I only wish that I could somehow slow the passage of time, turn things back so that this perfect period of writing and making headway could last longer. I fear change, the dying of the muse, whatever the trigger that slows the creative flow. But it's not here yet, so no time can be wasted...
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Well I returned to work about a week ago after taking a leave of absence to finish up my degree. It's been a lurid combination of invigoration and exhaustion punctuated by a revolving door of coffee mugs and alarm clocks. But all in all it's good to be back, sort of... I decided to make some changes at work and do a floating position, at least temporarily. Which means instead of spending my days in Ann Arbor, I'm frantically driving all over the state to "assist" needy centers. My staff is not happy with me, but they understand that my priorities have been changing lately and writing is taking a front seat in my life, which puts my company in the back, or the passenger seat at least. It is not an easy adjustment, leaving my consultants and working with people that I've never met, but I view every new person as material, what an interesting character she was etc.. I am also trying to make progress towards the MFA situation. The biggest challenge that I find is slowing down life long enough to do a bit of it all, it's so easy to get caught up in the mundane and forgot that changing the cat litter really is not a priority today, well maybe it is...
Monday, July 14, 2008
Classes have closed for the summer, the play-hard fourth of July weekend has come and gone, and it is now time to dive back into my book. Easier said than done I've realized as other forces fight to consume my time. Like reading for instance, every time I finish a book, I make this ridiculous self declaration that I'm not starting another, no, I must spend all of my extra time writing. Then I wander across some mysterious title promising at least two days worth of intrigue and I'm off the wagon, yet again. So I finished "The God of Small Things," wonderful by the way, and I'm off books for at least a week, or at least until the weekend, we'll see.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I am currently taking a few summer classes to finalize my psych degree, which has been about 95% finished for two years. Soon 100% completion will no longer elude me. However, this time I had hoped would leave ample space for creative writing has been crammed with papers, exams, and long winded discussions about mad poets who commit suicide. Not that these things are not interesting, but the challenge lies in overcoming your current reality vs. your previous expectation. I had fully intended to end June with novel revisions complete and at least ten query letters circulating. I have 100 pages of revisions left and haven't even researched agents, let alone, queried them. I have managed a few short stories and a single article, but somehow the hours slip away, unnoticed as I slowly plodder thru stacks of to-do's that manage to leap to tomorrow's list before the day is out.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
There is no feeling quite like a Michigan summer day. The sun seeps down and delves through your skin into bones turned brittle, by five long months of winter. Smiles come back, road rage subsides, and the lake glints like glass, harnessing a clear blue sky. I am eternally thankful for summer. But on to topics of significance, my revisions have stalled in lieu of masters program preparation. I am currently assembling transcripts, letters of recommendation, and writing samples to ship off for consideration. I have teetered on the MFA fence for some time now and after a long discussion with my husband, have decided to take the plunge. With that and my job, time for my book has dwindled to maybe a couple of hours a week. However, there is not time even to fret, for every second that passes thinking about "not working on my book," I'm Not working on my book. So that is it for now, I would like to continue, but again the clock is ticking...
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Well I have been in novel revision hysteria lately, so I took this morning to escape the pages of red ink and grammatical errors and do writing prompts instead. I often forget how wonderfully insightful writing prompts truly are. You escape from your typical subject and genre and simply write. Whether it be in reaction to a quote or a character or a plate broken on the floor, any image can conjure a whole novel of life that exists in your mind. Sometimes as I "novel" write, I get bogged down by the obstacles of audience, and publishing, and commercial value. But just writing, writing at random feels so good that I am instantly reminded why I must be a writer. Whether I am a financial success or I simply cling to a stack of unpublished manuscripts and tattered journals, I really do not care (well I care a little), but the true reality is that few things bring me joy and fulfillment the way that writing does. And I am so happy and thankful for that. Because although many of our childhood fantasies about being whom-ever and whatever we want to be often vanish in the night, doing what you love does not go away. Perhaps the eternal optimism that it will be a career gets tarnished, but the actually doing it, never does.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Well I've done just what I said I would not do and disappeared from the blogging world for a full month. But I am back full force and I will not claim any consistency here because, quite frankly, I am not consistent. But I am here today because I have decided to make writing the full time aspect of my life and put away the nine to five for now. Mu husband and I are getting out. We have set a deadline for June 30th and we have begun the winded process of wrapping up the life that we have created. We are saying goodbye to the two hour commutes, the stiff suits and itchy nylons, the migraine inducing bureaucracy, the flashy apartment, and most of all the Corporate consumption of our lives. I undulate between raw excitement and total fear. Knowing that the fear is the illogical reaction completely induced by societal expectations. By what my mother thinks I should be, my girlfriends, even my facebook profile. And the culmination of those forces and this insane desire to be pleasing and admired has sent us down a rabbit hole of misery, vainly seeking the so-called American Dream that simply constitutes bombarding you with enough electronic gadgets and visual stimuli to distract you from the life missing from your life. So we are packing up, we are selling our furniture, our car, most of our clothes and we are moving to an island up north. We've set aside enough to live on for the summer and then it will be part time jobs and full time life, not vice versa.
Monday, March 3, 2008
When I first started this blog I did so with the thought that I would easily blog every day or every few days. Because who doesn't have time for a quick rant about the state of their world. But then you realize why you never started blogging before, because time is that ever elusive easily consumed factor that never quite lines up with your great expectations. Instead I've managed three blogs in as many weeks. But no worries, I simply must lower this blogging ideal floating in my head and settle instead for when I can or when I want to or when lightning strikes or what have you. As far as the state of the book it's progressing. Slowly as of late, but today I managed two solid hours of revisions. Endlessly thankful for the black tar that Starbucks calls coffee and free wireless. For some reason a little distraction (black clothed, black haired artsy types discussing their unbelievable philosophy class) help me write. Utter silence just doesn't do it for, in fact it unnerves me. I slip into feeling like a deranged woman searching for meaning in the remaining cheerios floating in her cereal bowl. No really, isolation is great, but too much of a good thing is just to damn much. I once spent a summer on my parent's island house (not much more secluded than that) and found myself frantically clawing my way out of my own brain. It didn't help that I was reading Misery (not exactly sanity inducing) and planning a wedding reception that I was dreading like fish flies. I learned my lesson that summer. Not a good idea to read Stephen King novels about psychotic women in utter aloneness, you will find yourself daydreaming about chopping people up in your lawn mower. But anyway the book truly is progressing. I'm in my first read through right now and am revising as I go. I have about 75,000 words total, but have to add some more character development and tie up loose ends. I took two days off of work this week for specifically this reason so I'm happy to say this is one expectation that I have managed to follow through on.
Monday, February 18, 2008
It's Monday, another work week lays ahead and like most of the world I'm not exactly looking forward to it. It's not that I don't like my job, I do. It's that I don't like the ten hours of daily obligation that my job entails. When I would rather be finishing the book or reading or staring into space or getting sucked into a totally unproductive 80's movie fest. But in any case I will go because as attractive as the starving writer is to me, a starving writer with collectors pounding on the door, cats screeching from hunger, and the power turned off just as I hit The End is rather depressing. And today my kitties are getting fixed, so I'm really excited to spend the next half hour wrestling them into a cardboard box while they hiss and scratch and then driving 40 minutes while they pummel themselves against the box until they get free and then wedge themselves under the brake pedal.
But the writing is going well. I deleted my previous ending and am working on the re-write which is running smoothly along, and is much improved. I had intended to spend the weekend writing, but instead ended up with Audra and John, my friends from Lansing. I sacrificed writing to have long thoughtful conversations about how real life sucks and we spend our youth preparing for a fantasy that doesn't exist. I have a girlfriend who recently entered the nursing profession that is facing this harsh reality also. She says she worked so hard during school because she knew that when she became a nurse, she'd be on easy street. But au contraire, her three twelve hour days are packed with cleanings, dying patients, delirious visitors, and a nursing staff that is anything, but welcoming. She described her first month as humiliation training. At the end of each night she would sign off with the new nurses and have to give a quick re-cap of her day. Not only did they grill her about every decision, but they went on to stare t her as if she were, not a recently graduated nurse, but a space alien with tentacles sticking from her scrubs. She is not exactly living the fairy tale she had imagined when she heard "only three days a week." So I begin again today with my own "not so fairy tale adult life" but at least I have writing, oh and my husband to.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
This is my first ever blog. Started on a whim after reading through my backdated issues of writers digest and discovering an article about Julia Powell, a blogger turned author. Every writer's dream come true, you let the public read your journal and someone turns it into a book. But really I've decided to enter, the much discussed world of blogging, because I am in the process of writing my first novel. I've been writing my entire life, sadly fear of failure and a delete happy finger has prevented much progress. But several months ago I got over it. I just got over it. Instead of deleting my first twenty thousand words, an overly critical habit of mine, I continued on. Yesterday I hit the 65,000 mark!!! I eat, drink, and sleep writing, well that along with working full time and paying attention to my cats and husband. But this has truly been a profound breakthrough for me. I have only just began to delve into the hours of revisions, agent searches, and rejections that I know are sure to come. But I refuse to get discouraged, in fact, I've begun to filter any new writer information to block out words like 1 in million chance, almost impossible, and you're more likely to get killed by a serial killer than get published. Because I am going to do this, if my fingers bleed and my husband screams at me for staining our white lap top, I'm going to finish and publish this book. Even if the only copies I ever sell are to those close personal people that I can bully into purchasing a copy.