Friday, April 15, 2011

the slacker returns

you know, sometimes i forget i even have a blog. huh.

i got a comment (omg, i never get comments!) on my post-nano entry and i thought, hey, it's been a while.

like 3 months. geesh.

i think it pretty much took me all of february and march to get back into the swing of everyday life. in feb. i committed to doing every day, and i did it, and i haven't been back since. oops, i think i killed my initiative on that.

on the plus side, regular writing is happening occasionally. i still get the odd good idea for my 2009 nano*, which goes into a file and sits for months until i get another good idea. it's slow going. i've totally accepted that it will be a major re-write. i'm actually excited about that. i just have no attention span.

The 20k word summer project (i say these things like anyone is reading, never mind actually keeping track of the shit i do) has re-emerged. a few months ago i started re-writing it and then for no good reason i stopped. i think i lost conviction in my plot. this happens to me all the time- i start to worry that it doesn't make sense, or it's just not good enough, and rather than keep writing to see what happens, i give up. i need to remember not to keep doing that. because when i go back (like i did with this project) i usually realize that it's not actually that bad. i'm still stalling out on it, but the intention to work on it is there. that counts, right**

i still have no illusions that i'll ever be a published writer. ok, well, that's not entirely fair. i mean, i have a short published in an anthology, and another (most likely) this year (and i'm co-editing that anthology, which is pretty cool, and a topic for another day). but a book with my name (and only my name) on the cover? yeah, it's not looking likely. and i'm still okay with that. because for me, writing is more about proving that i have ideas in my head that are worth writing, and that i can get them from brain to page with my meaning and intentions intact. once i master that, i can worry about what everyone else thinks.

*the 2010 nano is in the junkyard, waiting to be scrapped for parts. it was never meant to be, i guess.

**it totally doesn't. that's just an excuse. i'm lazy and unmotivated, that's the honest truth of it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

i'm still a writer

so i didn't write a damn word for over a month. between holidays and family and traveling and getting the kids back into school, it fell right to the bottom of my priority list and stuck there. the funny thing is i didn't even feel bad about it. i used to always beat myself up when i let any of my regular activities drop. i replaced my writing with knitting, and spinning (oh i bought a lot of fibre on vacation. oh it's lovely, but that's besides the point). and one day i said 'gee, maybe i should start writing again.'

and i did.

and it sucks mostly. and i don't think that's actually a change from the usual. i know i'm capable of writing well, but my best stuff has either been heavily, heavily edited, or a product of some bizarre divine intervention or something. i have two pieces featured in an anthology put together by the Hong Kong writer's circle, ( there's a little bit of info on the publication there. i think it will be available to order internationally sometime soon.) and they are perfect examples of both. my longer piece was edited, peer reviewed, re-edited, and scrutinized to within an inch of its life, and i'm still not totally happy with it.

my second piece is all of 218 words, what they call postcard fiction. not because it at all resembles something you'd write on a postcard, but because you could fit the whole thing on one without any trouble. this piece i wrote at a workshop, longhand even, and i think i changed two whole words between the initial version and the final, published one. and it's still my favourite thing i've ever written. 218 fecking words.

i'm going to worry less about writing quality for a while. i'm also going to focus less on the length of the pieces, so i'm not obsessing over whether i'm writing something that could become a novel. i'm just spitting out ideas, and if one snowballs and turns into a story, then great. if that story could be expanded upon, also great.

i'm not setting myself any lofty goals. i'm just going to write. and i feel good about that.

Friday, December 24, 2010

life gets in the way

yeah, so i've been in TO since dec 10th, and rather disinclined to do anything but pig out on comfort foods, cuddle with my mum (yes, i realize i'm 31. shut up) and scam back rubs from my dad. also some nephew squooshing, and of course spending time with my own kids and husband have been taking up time too. so the blog is getting neglected. the writing is non-existent. even the knitting is falling by the wayside, except when i go to knit nights.

spending time with friends and family is more important that my little hobbies.

spending two hours in a walk-in clinic with my 5 year old and his split chin isn't exactly how i'd prefer to spend christmas eve day, but that's life for you.

the kid is tough as nails, and other than a little whimpering when the doc injected the anesthetic, he was totally perfect, cooperative, compliant. so a big fuck you to the doctor who basically insisted he would have to be forcibly restrained because 'all kids his age freak out.'

now to bed. tomorrow- presents and peameal bacon. pretty much perfect.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

post nano

yeah, i finished my 50K words. yay me. can you feel the enthusiasm?

i don't know, maybe it's just because i never got super jazzed about the story in the first place. i'm just not feeling that fantastic. the story isn't truly done, might never be.

i got some good ideas while i was working on it. brainstorming like crazy (mostly on that 750 words site. it's seriously awesome for that). started reading again, about a book a week, though mostly it takes 2-3 days to read, then another 2-3 to recover, get my head out of the last book's 'world'.

wanting something not too heavy, finding my bookshelf severely lacking in that regard. the few supposedly funny books i have i just can't get into.

second, third, fourth guessing many of my ideas. i think my self-confidence cycles, and right now i'm in a low part of the cycle, where nothing i think or do is good enough. my ideas are contrived, my writing is stilted, i'll never be good enough or smart enough (but doggone it, people like me anyway?)

i'm not really this down on myself. i'm overreacting to a blah day. whatevs.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

oh right, i have a blog

i discovered this nifty little site called i've been throwing the randomest of my random thoughts out there, so i've forgotten about the blog a bit.

the idea of the site is to give you a bit of an incentive to to some freewriting, random idea dumping, creative stuff, 'morning pages', whatever you like. what you write is totally private and you can even password protect it if you're on a shared computer. but after you write, you get this neat analysis of the words you use and how they reflect your mood, and the topics you tend to think about... i dunno, i find it kind of neat. and i'm using it as a place to brain-dump so that i can get on to the real writing.

so how's that real writing going? well...

on the plus side, i have 47K words, so there's no way i won't meet the NaNo requirement. that's good, right?

on the not-so-plus side, i really have realized that the amount of salvageable content is severely outweighed by the unsalvageable. it just is. nothing to be done about it, no point in whining or complaining that i suck (because i mostly don't) or worrying that i'm wasting my time (because i mostly am). the thing is, i set myself a goal, i'm going to meet it, and for better or worse, i had a lot of fun doing it. plot twists and turns that came out of nowhere, characters that sprung fully formed from my head and refused to go away until i'd given them a major role in the story- that's the kind of stuff i love about this frantic writing. just because i'm not picking the prettiest, most eloquent ways of saying it, doesn't make it totally worthless.

but true to form, i've gotten a new idea. speaking of characters dropping into your head fully formed- it's alarming the clarity with which this story has formed itself. i also know that it's going to require real research on my part, because i'll be writing about real issues, things that i can only make up and extrapolate so far without a good solid understanding first.

right now, when i'm not NaNoing, i'm fiddling with the character profiles, googling madly, jotting down random snippets of dialogue, and trying to resist starting the writing until i'm 'ready'.

three days into december, i'll have an opening scene. not a promise, just a prediction.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

declaring suckitude, right on schedule

okay, not total suckitude.

actually, on the whole i'm still feeling very positive about this whole novel business.

so why haven't i written anything on it in two days? hmmm.

see, i got to about the halfway point, and i got stuck, plot-wise. basically, i wasn't sure if my reasons for having the characters in that particular situation even made sense. and i thought of another way to get them into a similar, though more sensible situation, but that would require some re-writing of scenes. and i'm refusing to actually delete any more work, because it's nano, and nano is not for deleting.

so i can either forge ahead, and write the stuff that makes more sense, and just pretend that it fits in with what i've already written, that there aren't enormous plot holes to be filled, and that my novel isn't going to collapse under the weight of all the crap i keep tossing in there.

or, i can go back (not deleting, mind), and i can write the scenes in the way that might make them work better, so that i can write on knowing i've got the holes at least patched up a bit.

the problem is that the second option feels a little like cheating. writing more words/new scenes without deleting the old ones. 'fixing' mistakes, but leaving the mistakes there just to keep my word count up.

but trying to write it the first way, i keep getting stuck, losing track of what's actually supposed to have happened.

i'm so confused by my plot. i'm even confused by this blog post. geesh.

Monday, November 08, 2010

blogging does not add words to my nano wordcount

but it does help me get out some of the random fluff that seems to clutter my mind, so that i can get on with writing. so...

yeah, yesterday sucked. mostly, because it was sunday so everyone was home and i didn't have the nice quiet house to lull me into the writing zone. and i had started to come up on a roadblock in my plot (in that, i ran out of it) so even if i did sit down and try to write for five minutes, i'd keep questioning my writing, striking through the last bit i wrote, over and over...

the husband got home around 6:30, and while we were making dinner, i started to toss out some of my issues. he's a fantastic sport, and he usually lets me blather on until i get an idea, or until he's about to fall asleep, or until his brain feels like it'll explode (i try to get an idea before either of the latter happen). and it worked, he gave me this really awesome idea, a totally new twist on the story, an opportunity to add several more characters, a new setting, a whole new perspective on the overriding issue of the story, really. and i was so excited, and it buzzed around in my head while we ate, and while the kids wound themselves down for sleep.

so in the quiet house, i start to jot down notes on what's happening now, with all these new brilliant idea. and i find a hole. it wasn't a big hole, in fact it was really minor, sort of 'oh let me just get a needle and thread and stitch that up'. but even the tiniest bit of pressure on that hole made it spiderweb out, spreading in all directions into a chasm big enough for my whole story to fall through. clunk.

talked through the issues with the husband, who conceded that these holes were in fact insurmountable (without me rewriting the whole thing, which... are you crazy?). and so i pouted. and i stared at my computer. and i wrote a sentence. and then two more. and an hour later i had written 1500 words, met my daily word count, and had introduced a minor twist that just might carry me through to the end of the story. here's hoping anyway.

so i guess the point is not to give up. i truly believe my little brainstorming session paid off, even if none of the ideas we came up with actually made it into the story. just throwing the ideas out in the air makes them open up in new, unexpected ways.

(check in later for the post where i declare my suckitude once again. it's bound to happen. i'm on the NaNo seesaw here, and when i hit bottom, it hurts.)