Monday, May 7, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
I labored through five pages tonight, written with my favorite mechanical pencil on loose blue paper. To be honest, I wasn't in the mood for writing when I sat down at my desk.
Sometimes it takes pushing beyond that inertia to get things moving. Once I was started, it moved along quite well. There were a few times when I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with the outpouring storyline.
Started trying out a technique I read about a few months ago. Write until it gets really hot and you know exactly where you're headed with things, and then stop before you go cold. The next night (or whenever) it should prove easy to pick up where you left off. Much easier than starting back up from where things ran cold.
Five pages might not sound like much, but think about 3 months of it collecting. That's over 400 pages written as bare bones of the story. With the second draft, entering all of that into my laptop, it will quickly grow as minimally detailed scenes are fleshed out and dressed in their Sunday best.
You don't have to write 1,000 words everyday. But if you think of yourself as a writer, or you want to think of yourself as a writer, you just need to commit to writing everyday.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
This woman is nothing short of amazing. I've been blaring her CDs today while writing (or pretending to write, depending on the moment). She brings tears to my eyes, as well as igniting so many memories from my past in New Orleans. Listening to her today reconfirms my ambition to move back home, sooner than later.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Life is full choices. Thing is, most days it feels as though the decisions are already made for us. We can either do A, B or C, with the possible choices scripted for us. So, how is that truly free will? It gives the semblance of retaining our own volition while narrowing our possible actions. It's closer in many ways to voluntary control.
I try to live a creative life, keeping myself guessing, trying to step out of my comfort zone on at least a semi-regular basis. Funny thing is that after a while I find myself stepping out of my usual routine in a rather routine manner. Feels safe. Life, however, isn't about keeping things safe and in their own little box. Yes I admit I prefer my books stacked neatly, items on my desk arranged at 90 degree angles, pencils in the pencil cup, pens in the pen cup, and miscellaneous items in their own bin as well. Maybe calculated safety is a good thing, allowing a construct for the more dangerous moments to be allowed.
Writing is about letting go, allowing the unknown to rear its head and poke around on the paper. Maybe it's erased, lined through, or the victim of "select all" and then "delete." It happens. Perhaps the trick is to just let it happen.
Something that frustrates me is that unpublished writers are "aspiring authors." What about painters? Painters are painters simply because they paint, even before they land a solo showing of their work. So why are writers validated only upon publication? Might be on the shoulders of the writers themselves at times. Sure, I want to be published someday on old-fashioned paper with a gorgeous font and a beautiful glossy cover. Until then, I'm still a writer, capturing words, recording thoughts, exploring details of life I see in order to deepen my own experience so that resulting sentences delve deeper into mysteries that far too many people pass by and never notice.
Discipline. That's something I've been working hard to develop. Our creative work as artists of all mediums hinges upon random moments of madness. I find that to be the easy part of the process. The difficulty lies in then returning from that state of divine inspiration and attempting to capture it in the present medium at hand. The more you do it, the more you realize that it actually is work. It should be joyful work, at least most of the time, but it isn't always. Sometimes it's laborious, painful, and full of shadows.
The ability to push through the shadows is an important skill that must be developed. So many walls pop up, for some of us at least. Walls that must either be jumped over, or blown up. Maybe some walls should be walked around.
Keep pushing through the shadows. Keep taking risks. Keep dreaming. Very few societies value their artists. Yet I believe that the artists are necessary. Appreciated or not, the spirit thereof continues to illuminate the darkness and capture truths otherwise overlooked.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
My thoughts are running in circles tonight, just out of reach. I've been sitting at my desk for a few hours now. Have not managed to write a single word that's to be kept. Seems that as soon as I do get into the writing, and words actually find themselves on paper, that it's late into the night and my bed demands I warm it with my sleeping body.
Days slip by so quickly. Too quickly. So many of us say that, often. What happens then? Do we change anything about our lives? Most of us don't. Most of us think, oh well, life is speeding by, cannot do anything about it, so let's just spend our lives punching time cards and shopping sales at Macy's.
Felt like spring today in Colorado. Spring. New life. Time, yet again, to commit ourselves to openness and honesty with ourselves and others.
And now it's time I throw down the gauntlet and demand that my creative mind pours out a thousand words on my current project. Because we all know, the creative mind responds wonderful to demands. Sarcasm, oh sarcasm, my friend.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I'm sitting here, actually for a few hours now, and all I've accomplished is weaning my Twitter account of people who haven't posted in the last year or who have simply never followed back. I have also cleaned quite a bit and I managed to do 3 loads of laundry.
The problem is that today was/is supposed to be a day of writing on my current project. I've always written. I don't remember a time when I didn't write in some form. Still have the first short-story I wrote back in first grade, as well as the ribbon I got at some school competition. I remember that story oh too well. It's titled "The Magic Key." I took printing paper, folded it in half to made leaves of a book, and then "bound" the pages into a construction paper cover. After I had written a line or two on each page (it was a short short-story) I went back with crayons and illustrated each page. I remember as a kid thinking that was so cool to have my story in "book" format.
Now, there's the laptop that takes the place of pen and paper, or at least some of the time. However now there's also Netflix, Google, etc. -- plenty of things to prove distracting. Distractions are only a problem if allowed to be a problem. Some days I allow them a little too much room for play.
Having ideas isn't the problem for me. The problem is usually I have too many of them. They all come at me all at the same and then all run away before I can manage to organize them in my head. So I've learned to keep either a pad of paper with me at all times, or I make notes on my iPhone while on the go.
All in all, I think the best advice is to simply keep at it, on as much of a daily basis as possible. Those moments when the heavens open wide and the words flow as if being channeled in a divine trance, well, those moments make all the other days of labor worth it. One just hopes that the days of writing eventually out number the days of distraction.
Monday, January 2, 2012
There's a funny phenomena that occurs with my writing, or at least with my attempting to write. I have thoughts, ideas, plans all day long, simply running through my head. They take their time, stopping briefly, maybe just slowing down at times, and they allow me to get a good look at them. Sometimes I'm really amazed at the plot twists and character details that arise. That's during the day.
When it comes evening, however, and I sit down at the laptop, or grab a pen and open a trusty notebook, my mind goes absolutely blank! I'm currently working on a method to sneak up on thoughts so I can pen them without them getting suspicious that I might actually be doing something productive.
For quite sometime I've read online about Amanda Hocking. She's now a millionaire, within 2 years of self-publishing her young adult supernatural romance novels. I finally got a Kindle (yay! love it!) and purchased the first book of her My Blood Approves series. Within a few pages I was hooked.
Imagine my surprise that I was enjoying reading a young adult novel! I'm now on the third book of the series, with plans on buying her other books. Her Trylle trilogy is being re-released in a couple of days of days, being published in paper by St. Martin's Press. She's become very success very quickly.
Actually, that brings up another point. People write about "over-night successes." Amanda Hocking is no "over-night success." She's been writing for as long as she can remember. She tried to get published traditionally for years before venturing into e-publishing. She worked a full-time job, drank lots of Red Bull, and wrote sometimes 8 to 12 hours after work.
Rock on, Amanda!