Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tapping Away

Well things are going pretty good over here in book land. I'm getting in to my groove, hitting my stride, making progress. Twenty one pages so far. When I look back on the last couple of weeks I am happy to see that I am getting consistent in writing every day. And if I don't write, I at least re-read what I wrote and do a bit of research. So, that's all good.
I must say, however, that every single time I sit to write 'Book' I struggle. Fear, doubt, insecurity....all my familiar friends come knocking on the door. It's a battle every time I sit down at the computer. But what I'm finding is every time I fight that fight, and choose to turn down the volume on those voices, my true self comes through and makes an appearance. I guess it's like working out. The more I exercise my will, the stronger I believe the truth.
Yesterday was a great day. I had lunch with a creative friend of mine and I dared to read over a few parts of the book to get feedback. Considering it's still a crappy first draft, that's always a challenge. But she graciously listened, and encouraged, and gave great feedback. She brainstormed with me about plot developments, and my characters, and how they could feel more true. And I came away with so much inspiration and fresh ideas I was floating!
So my lesson for this week? Take risks. Nothing new there, but actually new for me in the area of writing. The more I risk; whether it's sharing my work, or believing in myself, or writing about things I may not be entirely comfortable with; I stretch my creative muscles and grow just a bit each time.
And then the next time those voices show up, they're not quite as loud as before.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Day of Firsts

That elusive 'first'. First book, first line, first page.....

Why is the first line always so hard to write? The intimidating blank screen (or page), the cold sweat that begins at the thought of starting something new. Will it be good enough? Is it right?

As Walter Mosley says in his book 'This Year You Write Your Novel', "probably the highest hurdle for the novice novelist (and many seasoned veterans) is writing the first few words. That beginning is a very emotional moment for most of us."

I can attest to this. The very act of writing that first line is a doozy. And one that I have been procrastinating about (see previous post). Mosley also says "procrastination is an author's worst enemy, but there are others: the writer who suddenly has chores that have gone undone for months but that now seem urgent; the diarist who develops a keen wish to write about her experiences today instead of writing her book; the Good Samaritan who realizes that there's a world out there that needs saving; the jack-of-all-trades who, when he begins one project, imagines ten others that are equally or even more important. Forget all that. Don't write in the journal unless you're writing a chapter of your book. Save the world at 8:30 instead of 7:00. Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls."

So, with that in mind, I sat down, took a deep breath, and.....did it. I wrote the first line. And the second. And....before I knew it I had two glorious pages finished. This was indeed an emotional moment for me. All the years of preparing, planning and dreaming culminated in one moment to propel me towards the goal. I felt a rush of excitement and positivity.

Now the third page doesn't seem so scary.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I have been doing research for about a month now in preparation for writing the book. I love research! This is something new I've learned about myself in the past few years. When I started my interior design business I began poring over magazines, websites etc. and really enjoyed digging up facts and knowledge, whether it was finding out what a 'ghost' chair is or learning about the latest lighting fixtures, I was all over it. Then I planned a few trips. New York, San Diego, Montreal....and our biggest one to date, a home exchange in England. I literally had our dinner reservations booked before we left.
So, I knew that there were elements of my story that needed research. Locations, events, people.
I have really enjoyed digging in to these things, making notes, causing my characters to begin to come to life in my mind.
The question is; when do I stop? I could probably research forever and a day, and be perfectly happy. Well, almost. But at some point this must stop and the actual writing must begin. Am I procrastinating? Possibly, since that is a strong character trait of mine. Am I nervous to move away from something I enjoy and comes naturally, to something I enjoy (when I feel inspired) and doesn't always come naturally? You bet I am!
The dilemma continues......(but if you are ever curious about remote beaches of New Jersey, I'm your gal).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Deep Breath, And.....

Well, this is it. My big leap of faith.

I have been writing since I was a child. I used to sit in the basement with my older sister and my cousin on summer holidays and we would write stories together. For hours. I remember the stories we wrote always had to have a tragic element to them; girl goes blind, boy dies, girl gets diptheria, etc. Even back then I had a dark side.

As I grew up I continued to write, but mostly poems, short stories or 'dear diary' type stuff.
I always viewed it as a hobby.

Then I had my kids and it become an outlet for my emotions, feelings and passions. Lots of letters to the editor, newspaper columns and rantings. My opinions were becoming me, at least. My voice was still soft, and quiet, and hidden, for the most part.

About six years ago I took some writing courses. I found great inspiration, guidance, and encouragement among the teachers and students. Out of one of those classes, three other keeners and myself formed a writers group that met every week, for about four years. We came with poems, stories, rantings, ramblings and other varied and weird writings. We supported and critiqued and cheered each other on.

Through all of these years, my hearts desire was to write a novel. A book. I rarely, if ever, spoke this dream to anyone, for fear of being laughed at and generally looked at like I was a loon. This dream stayed tucked away in my heart for only me to gaze on with longing.
However, about two years ago, the dream began knocking on the door of my life. It became harder and harder to ignore. I began to entertain thoughts of actually doing it, of writing a book. I began to pray.

A year later, the knocking became more urgent and I knew it was a path I was to walk. Then the fear came. Fear of failure, fear of sucking, fear of what people would think of me. Who was I to do this thing?

With the help of some good friends and lots of prayer, the fear faded. I realized that this was something I needed to do, for me. And that if nothing ever came of it; if all it ever did was sit on MY shelf, that was enough. The journey was in the doing and not the end result.

Once I had reconciled this in my heart, things began to happen. I started to mull over storylines and plot elements.

A year later (yes, one whole year) I had it. The story. Things were solidifying. It was time to DO.


So here I am, at the threshold of a dream. I have been doing this mostly in secret, save for a few trusted people. And yet, today, I had the distinct impression that my journey is not to be done in secret. It is something to share. Why? I'm not exactly sure, except that I think there are others out there with dreams; big dreams, crazy dreams; who are scared to start acting on them. Maybe if I take the big scary step of putting myself and my dream out there, others can take heart, and courage, and a bit of faith, and do the same.

And, I think it might be neat to document the journey. If not for anyone else, then just for me.

So, here goes. Gulp.

Strange Paradox

I have been rummaging through a file of my writings and found a bunch of poetry. Thought I would share a couple here. This one was published somewhere but for the life of me I can't remember where! haha shows you my organizational skills right there.

Strange Paradox

strange paradox
one minute peaceful
then raging
one moment calm
then screaming
why must I be
these two
when I only want one
night takes over dawn
and drowns it with black
thoughts words fears
spiraling down ever darker
light seeps in
and floods the sky
blinding my soul
hope joy strength
sustaining Life in me
the dark is always waiting
I will cling to the Light