Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm thirtysomething, hear me roar.

I washed my hair this morning, but I refuse to put on any makeup. I asked the baby and the hamster, and they both think I look just fine, so the people at the grocery store will just have to be all right with that.

There was a time when I wouldn’t leave the house without everything just so, as far as makeup and hair went. I think it was my teens and twenties. You know, I wouldn’t go back there. I’m not thrilled to be thirtysomething, but there are good points. And hey, it ain’t so bad, I know.

One thing I’ve noticed about my thirties is that I’m much more confident. As I said to my Mom earlier, when I described an encounter with a very rude customer, people like that just can’t touch me like they used to. My kids are healthy, my family loves me, and I’ve learned that I don’t have to let that kind of poison get on my skin. There’s an incredible amount of freedom in that – the freedom to be happy and at peace even when people are jerks. The freedom to face adversity with confidence and a smile. The freedom to sit in my own driver's seat, and go my own way - and not to ask what others think of my decisions. Somehow, somewhere along the line, this people-pleaser has grown up.

And given birth to a baby who does not sleep.
Gotta go!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Week one is over, and I’m at 2590 words – 910 words shy of my goal.

I knew when I set the goal that 500 words a day might be steep for some days – let’s face it, there are days when the words don’t come easy. But then there are others when they flow like water. Overall, I think it’s an average worth trying to maintain.

I will make two changes to my plan, though. The idea being to grow into a writer, I’ll file these under “learning”, and just get on with it. First, I need one day off. So I’ll now aim for 3000 words a week, with my “treat” still at 4000. Two, I will start fresh at the beginning of each new week, and not carry with me the debt of any unwritten words from the previous week. It’s a bit slower than I thought, but I do have other commitments that are important – crucial, actually. I guess aiming to write a novel in six months might (cough) be a bit of a stretch. But I’m not giving up, I’m just saying. There will be good days and weeks, too!

I learned something else about my style this week. When I first sit down to write a scene, what comes out is very shallow, pale. But if I write it anyway and walk away for a bit, it soon occurs to me what Lauren said next, or what happens then, so I scurry back and put it down. And repeat. At first I was grumpy about it, but then I saw a pencil drawing of my DH when he was little, and I realized what it is I’m doing. I sketch the scene as in pencil, drawing the bold strokes and shapes first, and only then can I even see what’s there.
This contributes to the trouble in meeting a word goal, to be sure. It’s a very stilted process. I suspect that when I’m more accustomed to using the outline I’ll develop the muscles I need to power me through. I’m going to start working on more than one scene at a time, that will help.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Keeping up!

Well, this writing to an outline is a very different process. Slower starting, I suspect, because I'm so used to just letting my fingers do the talking. This way, I need to focus on the precise purpose and mood of the scenes, and it does cramp my flow a little. Later on I think it will be more helpful. When I get to those inevitable crossroads - where I normally stand baffled - I'll have a map.

I'm on track with 1531 words. Today looks like a busy one, so I'd better get cracking!

Jill Barber's new CD is out

Yeah, I know. You've never heard of her. She's a (sort of) local musician, we go see her whenever we get a chance. Here's her website:

She's folksy-country, I'd say, more country this time - which is not really my thing, but I try to keep an open mind. This CD, FOR ALL TIME, has a beautiful version of Goodnight Sweetheart, but you can't hear that from the site. Go listen to the other songs, though!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Day Three Begins

It's the beginning of day three, and wouldn't you know it, I'm already behind. Only by 200 words or so - I did force myself into this chair last night when I might otherwise have not. So it's all good.

Did have a beautiful walk with some family around the museum park in my hometown yesterday. (Ok, it's not a town, but we do have a Robin's Donuts now.) Fall colors, forest and lake trails, my little sister pushing baby asleep in the stroller, boy galloping ahead and back. I had my hands in my pockets - something I never do any more, but I wasn't holding either child or their stuff. I let myself fall behind and watched some of the people I love most walking together down the forest drive and laughing: Mom, Brother, Aunt, Uncle. I took long breaths of the dry scent of fallen leaves, and nobody was talking to me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ready, set, GO!

I’ve begun writing. The outline is there but not really really set in stone, there are empty areas that will have to fill themselves in as I go. I waited a few days beyond the strong urge to start, to settle in my mind the opening scenes and what best to do with those. I’ve decided, and I’ve begun.

I’m about 400 words in, and feeling good. Here’s my plan, officially stated:

Write 500 words a day, or 3500 words a week if that doesn’t work. That’s an absolute minimum. If I exceed 4K in a week I get a treat – something chocolate, a bubblebath, a scented candle. Take-out. Something like that.
Follow my outline, unless I get better ideas as I go. Start at the beginning and write through – I may skip ahead and back, but the point is NO REWRITING until the sfd is done.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Goodbye, sweet little Lamb. I wish we'd had more fun.

Had one of those days yesterday, you know the kind I mean. The days when you're awake at 5 am, and from then on everything you do is for someone else, and then your hamster dies and people just can't understand why you're so damn moody.

But the kids were both in their beds by nine, bless their little souls. House wasn't on, so I compensated by eating a bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup, and then some potato chips. Good eating habits be damned, it was resuscitation by caloric overload. Get that "I can do this" feeling started again. Then I took a bath and went to bed. I coped.

Today we'll exchange the poor dead hamster for a live one and see if this one's destined for a long and illustrious career as a D. family pet.

In writing news, I've been running Juniper through the prewriting machine to see if I can make anything of it. I'm learning a lot, particularly about what's wrong. At this point I'm more interested in the other story idea I have, though. Now that I've given myself permission to start something new, I feel like that's the right choice. I was a long time getting here because I was so guarded about letting my nature take over - I'm a great starter and a terrible finisher. I lack temerity. I give up too easily. However, after five years on JUNIPER, I think I've proven I can hack it. Now I need to let that sucker go.

I should probably wash my hair and do some laundry while baby is asleep. Happy writing, ladies!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Starting over. Again.

Well. Here I was minding everybody’s business just like I always do, and working out a new plan for my writing. It’s in its infancy, but it looks like this:
- Take an idea.
- Ask it lots of questions, and don’t take the obvious answers.
- Make an outline.
- Write 500 words a day, every day, no excuses.
- Start at the beginning, write through to the end, no stopping to rewrite.

Then people start talking about NaNoWriMo, and Kelley Armstrong’s Outlining 101 method. So I can’t help but be nosy and check it out.


Hey, this I can understand. This I can do. So I took a little idea and ran it through the system to see what would happen, and I’ve got a pretty fleshy idea for a paranormal. Together with my New Plan, I could actually have this written in 6-8 months. At least the SFD, I mean.

So, I’m psyched. Eventually, I’m going to run JUNIPER through this baby. If I had done this before I started writing JUNIPER, do you have any freaking idea how many problems I could have avoided? Thank you Vicki for bringing it up.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, maybe early for some.

Oh, and I got a new hamster yesterday. (Munchie, the cat, caught Nibble unawares last week, after yours truly left the side off the cage. :o( Poor Nibble.) So this one is called Lamb. She’s beige, short-haired, shy and quiet, very cute.