NaNoWriMo: Update 1

Willow - NaNoWriMo 1

Longtime readers of this blog and my other writings (all three of you) know how frustrating my journey has been for all of us. I’m the classic big-idea guy who never quite gets around to following through.

My personal frustration led me to yet another re-prioritization and a first-time resolution to complete the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge – write the first draft of a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.

After three days, I’m pleased to say I’m on track. I averaged about 1,700 words each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, just enough to reach the 1,667-per-day average output for 50,000 words in 30 days. With Chapter 1 already done before I started, I had a 3,762-word head start (although I’m therefore aiming to complete a 53,762-word novel by Nov. 30), and I start today at 9,141 and looking forward to cracking five digits. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: Update 1”

Stay in the game and keep swinging

dejah - keep swinging.jpg

There’s a moment when your consciousness detaches from the writing and starts to read and recognize – “Oh, that’s good, that’s sweet, that’s meaningful” – and that’s the moment of truth.

Either you pause and celebrate what you’ve just written or you double down – you say to yourself, “Shut up, Self, we’re writing here and nobody cares what you think at this moment.”

Maybe you do shut back up and keep writing, or maybe you start trying to outdo yourself and it turns out sounding like self-conscious slop, or maybe you stop and say, “Well, there it is, that’s the best I’m going to do today so I may as well stop.” Only one of those three choices is likely to produce more brilliance, but you have a chance of batting .333, which is mighty good baseball.

Sports make pretty good analogies. Babe Ruth’s strikeouts and Brett Favre’s interceptions are part of their stories of brilliant success. Ted Williams set a record by failing six out of 10 times – because the best hitters have always failed seven or eight of 10.

And the point being: You don’t get a hit every time you swing. You just keep swinging.

It’s all in the attitude

3244 fearless love endures

Oh, bother. Oh, woe. Will inspiration ever strike? It’s so ha-ard to sit here and try to write. How am I going to get my characters out of this mess? It takes so long to work it all out. I don’t want to sit at this desk and try to concentrate on all this.

“Isn’t this great?!”

What? No. Are you crazy?

“Only crazy about how much fun I’m having. It’s so great to take a little time for inspiration to strike.”

You call this fun?

“Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s so much fun to just sit and try to write. How am I going to get my characters out of this mess? I can take my time to work it all out. I just love to sit at this desk and concentrate on all this. I’m living the creative! Wheeeeeee!!!”

(Guess which attitude is more fun – and more productive.)

Gently down the stream

gently down the stream

Author’s note: The other day, after neglecting my journal for a day, I picked it up and entered a “zone” and didn’t set it back down until I had filled 16 pages. At several points I became aware that I was writing without thinking and enjoying the stream of consciousness, so I’d tuck my brain away again and keep going. Afterward, reviewing where my mind had wandered, I got the idea to share the whole 16 pages, almost exactly as they’d come out, with only one addition: the word Trope.

Why would you want to read this? Why would anyone care what I write when I’m just riding a stream of consciousness to nowhere or somewhere or wherever this goes? I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one who finds this writing exercise interesting, but that’s OK. It would not be the first time, or the last. Continue reading “Gently down the stream”

Attic musings: Linda Perhacs rediscovered

Linda Perhacs rediscovered

During college hanging-around-the-student-radio-station days, I would often sit with headphones on and listen to the new album releases, usually from someone I never heard of but they must be good because someone recorded their album, right?

Sometimes an album would blow me so far out of the water that I had to tell everyone I knew, “Holy cow, you gotta hear this album.” If there was a turntable nearby, I would sit them down and make them listen. If you knew me then, you probably remember that about me, and often you would nod patronizingly and say, “Sure, Warren, very nice, thank you.”

But a handful of albums really sank in. One of them was Parallelograms by Linda Perhacs. I think several of my friends actually went out and bought the album after hearing it. Continue reading “Attic musings: Linda Perhacs rediscovered”

In which an unexpected judicious edit leads to conquering the fear of the wonderful

zen edit

There is something scary about discovering the miracles that abide inside us. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and – having been made in the image of our Creator – we are capable of crafting fearfully-and-wonderfully-made things.

In a burst of creative madness, I wrote Chapter One of a marvelous story more than a year ago.

It was good, which scared the sh*t out of me, obviously, because I let it lay dormant for more than a year. At the time, I shared the chapter to be sure it was good, and sure enough, people whose opinions I respected said, “This is good. I would like to see what happens next.” What happened next is I let it lay.

Then the other morning, as I am wont to do, I was re-reading Ray Bradbury. Continue reading “In which an unexpected judicious edit leads to conquering the fear of the wonderful”

Ode On The Creative Urge

ode on the creative urge

I sat down this morning, mined my journal for 10 blog posts, and scheduled them to start appearing daily Monday through Saturday mornings starting immediately. (“In which we tire etc.” was the first.)

Are they any good? Will anyone bother to read them? Oh, that is so not the point.

Creators live to create, and must create to live – “That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

(I posted this on Facebook Oct. 3 and then thought, “What do ya know? There’s the 11th.”)

Conquering the dontwannas

conquering the dontwannas

“I don’t wanna!”

Oh, come on, you big baby. Just sit down and do the work.

“I don’t wanna!”

Yeah, and I don’t want to sit here yelling at you. So something’s gotta give.

“I don’t wanna!”

You want to eat? You want to rest? You want to have time for your toys and your books and your records? You want to not worry about how to pay the bills?

“Well, yeah …”

OK, then. DO THE WORK! Sit your butt down and finish the to-do list. To-do to-day! That’s what it is.

“I don’t wanna!”

Oh, fer Pete’s sake.

Do it. Let’s get off our buts.

Just do it.