Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Looking for quiet?

Here's the thing about's elusive.  That's right.  It's not that easy to find, especially when you work, go to school, and have a baby, husband, and two dogs.  It's wonderful to have all these distractions, let me tell you!  And every time I want to sit down to write, how often do I simply pursue Facebook for about an hour and then have to get up and do something else instead? :)

If you are like me at all, you need a little quiet when you sit down to write.  I've got myself this really nice room that I call my 'mini-library' in my house, with this great big desk, and four bookshelves over flowing with books - the perfect location to sit down and write.  And where am I writing you now?  Well, I'm simply sitting at my dining room table with a glass of Chianti sitting at my side, periodically glancing out the window at my neighbors across the street who are walking their dog and I'm watching them with a fierce expression on my face because if I catch that dog pooping in my yard one more time....

So there you have it.  Sometimes, it's night and I just got my daughter to bed, and I'm thinking now would be the best time to sit down and so some writing.  It's quiet.  What do I end up doing instead?  That's right.  I pull out the TV remote and tune into 'American Idol' or 'Duck Dynasty'.  (Don't smirk, that's an excellent show!)

Now, instead of looking for quiet at the end of the day, I embrace the noise and everything that goes with it.  I understand and accept that there is never going to be the perfect time to write.  I accept that my life is a bit chaotic, and I love that.  I'm writing this post at my dining room table, while my dinner is cooking in the oven, my dogs are running around in circles and my husband is singing with my daughter.  That's right....go me!

My question is simply - where do you go for your 'quiet' when you write or work?  Is it really quiet at all or is there something that you have to balance as well?

Monday, March 4, 2013

What do you do when you lose your Muse?

I'm sitting here, staring at my blank, white screen and squinting at the blinking cursor so hard I feel my Jedi powers are making it finally move across the screen in a bit of random incoherant-ness....and oh man, now I've got red squiggly lines all over the place.  What was I talking about?

Has anyone else ever been here?  What in the world was I thinking?  How am I supposed to put together anything that resembles something that someone would want to read?  Ugh.

What do you do when you feel like you've lost it?

Monday, February 4, 2013

On the road to recovery...

        The last couple of months have been tough for myself and my family.  Finding the time and will to write during all of that had been so minimal that I thought that I had lost my ability and talent because a part of me felt that I just didn't have it anymore.  I had let the events take over my life, and I was tired of it.  I wanted that part of myself back, it's almost impossible to explain, but I knew that a vital piece of me was missing.  There's no shame in saying you need a break, there are times that I've found it all but impossible to just do the day to day and I had to learn that it was okay to say, "no" to anything additional. (and man was that hard to do)
          But enough time has passed now that I want to gain back that piece of myself that I put aside while being there for my family.  I can't believe how worried I was that I would never get this back, or why I thought that I could put it aside to begin with.I found my 'muse' again when I went to a Writer's Retreat, that my local writing group (Wichita Falls Creative Writers) put together up in the Quartz Mountains in Oklahoma.  

Sunrise at the Quartz Mountain Resort

           If you've never been there, I would recommend it, just because it was wonderful to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for quiet tranquility of the mountain resort.  It was here in the still morning air that I finally felt that 'stir' for my new novel.  Yes, that's right - a new novel!  I pushed five chapters out that weekend and I can't stop the voices in my head.  (It's okay to hear voices in my head, I'm a writer.)

           I started this year with a goal of 500 words a day and three submissions, but I'm thinking that I might change that to finishing this manuscript with enough time to pitch it at the upcoming Dallas Writer's Conference in May.  Am I being too ambitious? 

          I am just so excited.  In my whole life, this has all I have ever really wanted to do and now that I have voices back, I don't want to do anything that would quiet them.  I will let you know how the rest of the draft goes, but since that very prosperous weekend, I have drafted two more chapters and am working on the next.  For the first time, I actually know how my story is going to end, but I am enjoying the heck out of finding that journey with my main character.  There was a way that I wanted to send her in the beginning and I'm thinking now that I might have been perhaps too quick to judge, because she is constantly telling me how wrong I was to assume she would do things my way.  

          At this point in my life, you would think that I would know better than to ever assume that anything is going to go my way - and I mean that in the best sense because thank God, nothing has!

          I will tell you that I get frustrated sometimes, still.  I work full time, am a mom and wife, and have the same struggle as many other writers of finding the time to write.  Not to mention the fact, that when you finally find that little bit of golden time, you find yourself staring at a hideously white screen with the flashing cursor and you are so tempted to click over to Facebook to see what the rest of the world is up to...So you could say that I'm really excited to be writing again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Awaiting Creativity

Going into the second week of my annual challenge and I've come to discover that my muse isn't working the way that I want her to.  I thought for sure that the best story idea in the world would come up and get me right away, but of course that didn't happen.

I found it odd that the "golden idea" didn't just fall into my lap as I was sipping coffee at my laptop in the morning, while my daughter is crying because she doesn't want to get out of bed, my dogs are grumping because they wanted to go outside, and my husband....well, you get the picture.  :)  Finding that opportune moment to let my muse wander freely is an interesting struggle every day; so how do I find something to write about?

The lesson I learned after the first week of sticking to a daily word count is that I can write about anything.  It doesn't have to all be dedicated to that one work in progress, I can just let myself wander through all of my thoughts and just see what comes out of that.  

I feel like my writing is already improving because I work with it everyday and it isn't just a passing thought.  So, for the first week, I'm going to give myself a star.  Yay!

Week 1:
Word Count:  3,142
Submissions:  0 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Five hundred and FIVE

There are all kinds of New Year's challenges out there and I had a really good friend go through one for 2012 that has totally inspired me.  I know it might be hard to believe (how many people can say that they have heard all kinds of crazy resolutions that never worked), but I really believe that if there are people out there that can do can I.

So, I searched and thought, and then thought some more.  It was a little tough to figure out a challenge that would work for my craft and help me accomplish the goals that I've set for myself this year.  I finally thought that a daily word count would be the best, but I also wanted to include a kind of goal that forced me to actually submit my work for publication.

With that thought in mind, I adjusted my challenge to 500 words a day and 5 submissions by the end of the year; coming to the "Five Hundred and FIVE" challenge for 2013.  :)

Everyday, I will write five hundred words and this year I will find either five contests or submit my completed manuscripts to at least five publishers.  At the end of every week, I will let you know the total number of words that I have written for that week in this blog.  When I get ready to submit, I might even ask for some helpful beta readers.

I can't wait to start this journey.  I'm hoping that at the end of the year I can look back and be really happy and proud with this chapter I'm starting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reflections: Writing and pictures

I gave a lot of consideration to the year 2012 and all the issues that came with it for my family the other night.  I have a good friend who is known for saying, "life is about choices," and I thought long and hard about the choices that I made all through last year.  When it came down to it, I really wasn't happy.  This got me thinking about what choices I could make this year to help turn some things around.  I hope to share some of these decisions with you, over the coming year.

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of sharing brief bits of any story that I happened to be working on, but the problem with this narrow focus (I felt) was that it didn't really convey to my readers who I am as a person.  I'm still a struggling writer, but there is so much more to me and my journey than that.  So this year I thought that I might share a little bit of that journey with you.  It's my hope that  it will make you laugh and smile.  Or, if you are in that horrid place I was just a few months ago, show that a little bit of positive thinking will help turn things around.

To start this year (and story) off right, I wanted to tell you about the best birthday gift I got this year.  With my birthday being on New Year's Day, I often got one gift for Christmas and my birthday growing up; something that I have come to expect.  This year, however, my wonderful husband blew me away when he presented me with my gift.   What I didn't expect, was that he had framed a picture that I took on our recent family vacation to St. Thomas.

Balcony view from hotel in St. Thomas

I took this picture with a really nice camera that he had got for me years ago, because I enjoy taking pictures as a hobby.  When we were in St. Thomas on vacation, I got up early one morning and waited over an hour to get this one shot of the sunrise, never really giving any consideration to doing anything else with the picture except uploading it to Facebook.  

With this in mind, imagine my surprise when I tore the paper and saw this picture blown up and professionally framed.  I was speechless at first.  The frame might have been simple black, but the feeling I got from holding something that I made was too much for me to put into words.  He gave me back a little of the confidence that I had lost in myself this past year by showing me what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

So this week's focus for me is about setting some goals for 2013.  I prefer to think of them like that instead of resolutions, because I never keep resolutions.  With that in mind, goal number one this year is to finish a story that I have written.  Stuffed in drawers around my house are short stories, long stories, and even some poetry; mostly incomplete.  I had this knack of giving up pretty easily with everything that I have written - so the goal now is to find one and finish it.  I will do this by dedicating serious time everyday to my craft.

Goal number two this year is to take more pictures!  Look what I can accomplish when I sit some quiet time aside to look at my surroundings with a trained eye.  In fact, I would like to open this to my readers:  What is something that you missed when you weren't looking for it?  Has there been something this past year that you feel could have been "focused" on?  I look forward to hearing from you.