It’s turning into one of those nights where I throw up my hands and say, “You know what? Screw it.” (Only with stronger language…) There are several reasons I’ve lost the thread tonight. Originally, a friend and I had a Write Club scheduled, but due to unexpectedly bad weather, we had to cancel, which left a blank in my evening that I should fill with writing, but instead, now lacks the one motivating factor I had counted on to keep me going (through no one’s fault but the stinkin’ weather’s!). I’m tired. It’s Friday, and it’s a mid-weekend, which means the hubby’s working tomorrow and Sunday, which means there is no weekend for me, either. It gets long. And tiring. And the kiddo was in fits tonight after not napping and my inability to pay 100% attention to him while giving some support to a friend on the phone (that still means about 75% attention on him, btw). It’s rainy and stormy. I’m tired. I just want to relax and read Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin and watch the latest episode of Project Runway and the next episode of Gotham and just…drink a beer and chill.
In concession to my writerly dreams, I will work for five minutes retyping a scene that needs to move forward. That is my token offering. For the rest of the night, I will indulge myself and relax, because sometimes I need that, too.
I think it may be a bit overly optimistic for me to plan on blogging three times a week. I’ve been intending to post something all week, but every time I remember, it’s always too late to do anything about it right then, or I think “Well, I’ll just post Wednesday/Friday/etc. instead,” and subsequently forget to post that. Added into the complexity of the three-times-a-week schedule is the fact that I’ve become obsessed with writing these posts by hand, and then typing them in. I like to think handwriting these makes my posts more fluid and journal-like, but simultaneously, it makes it hard to whip something together in a few spare minutes.
All of that, to say: FORGIVE ME, GENTLE READERS! I aim to improve!
But I think I’ll have to be a bit more realistic about it. So I’m going to try for two posts a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, with occasional bonus posts if something particularly interesting happens. Friday posts will most likely be journal-like, checking in on how the week went, and how next week is shaping up. Tuesday posts may vary in subject matter, though either may include a doodle, because I love doodling. :)
Despite not blogging (at all, ugh…) this past week, things on the writing front have gone quite well. I started this week by editing the novel rewrite (after last week’s start on the “flash” story ended up devouring most of my writing time), and that seemed to work a lot better. I ended up spending most of Monday-Wednesday doing all the character background work I really hadn’t done for the first draft. It was a bit frustrating at first, because I really wanted to make forward progress (a Write Club deadline of Feb 7th to wrap up Act I is weighing on me), but once I relaxed and reminded myself (Thanks in part to a note from Susanne B.!) to have fun with it–at least as much as possible–things started really loosening up. By Thursday, I knew where the rewrite had gone off the tracks (changing the Protag’s job ended up sapping all the dramatic tension from the character relationships), and managed–keeping the “Entertain Yourself” mantra in mind–to create a slick workaround, which promptly revitalized the forward momentum, reintroduced the character tension I loved so much in the first draft, and got me reinvigorated about the story again. It feels so good not to be completely lost. Friday, I went back and started reworking the first scene to get it realigned with the relatively minor tweak, and this coming week, I’m hoping to tackle at least part of the second scene.
And just when I was certain I wouldn’t have time to write a flash piece (or even have a workable idea for one), I sat down at 9:30PM Thursday night and banged out a bittersweet 850 word tale I’m kind of delighted with. Granted, the infatuation probably won’t last, but I’ll love it while I can.
This coming week has a lot going on, so no definite goals. Andy’s on vacation (which usually means I get zilch done writing-wise, but we get to travel around and enjoy actually being a family!), and I’m starting an online writing class on Thursday taught by Nick Mamatas (author of Bullettime and Love is the Law, and a bunch of other awesome books and short fiction), so a lot of my writing time is going to be dedicated to that for the next few weeks. It’d be great to get a start on the novel’s second scene and get a flash piece done by Thursday, but seriously, who knows. It’ll be a bit of a gamble, but that’s okay.
So have a great week, folks! I’ll see if I can get something posted on Tuesday. :)
P.S.–I unabashedly adore Tim Gunn. Just sayin’.
I’ve been watching waaaaaay too much Pokémon (Season One, of course!) lately. What started as a trip down memory lane has become a nostalgia obsession, and it’s not just me. The Hubby has been lucky enough to have most of his post-8PM nights off and noteless, and he’s as obsessed (if not more) than I am. The Little Guy, in contrast, doesn’t really care one way or another about it, so we typically watch an episode or two after he’s gone to bed (and with a nice glass of wine). It’s a different experience watching it at thirty compared to twelve. It’s both aged strangely and less than expected.
But I digress. Part of mentioning this is to establish the context for my confession: my “set aside” evenings for writing 2+ hours have been scarce. I’ve got a slew of explanations–some legit, some just crutches–but in the end, it comes down to commitment. I cave when it comes to isolating myself when the Hubby is home, because I know these leisurely nights won’t last come February. I treasure spending time with him, and honestly, I don’t feel guilty about shirking my own plans for that. It’s a dilemma it seems many medical-spouses experience, simply because spare, relaxing time is so very rare during residency.
And it’s not like I haven’t gotten some work done. I’ve written about 1300 words of this week’s “flash” (HAHAHAHA–! Ahh… *wipes tear of laughter from eye*) fiction piece. I haven’t made much physical process on the novel revision yet, but I have spent time figuring out how to revitalize a scene which was boring me to death, so that’s encouraging for working on it late this week.
I was going to put up a train-of-thought post about “likable” characters in fiction, but as it turns out, my feelings on that subject are much more complex than I’d originally thought, and I’d like to stew on it a bit more (and better organize my notes on those thoughts). Some of the things I’m asking myself are: Are there characters you’ve enjoyed reading about who were decidedly unlikable characters? How did the author make you care enough about their situation to push through active dislike to the end of the story? Was the character as unlikable at the end as they were in the beginning? Does a likable character have to be a good person? In what ways do authors use unlikable characters? SO…thoughts!
In the meantime, here’s a doodle:
Every new year always seems to start like this: New Year’s Eve, you’re ready to start kicking butt and taking names. You’re psyched by goals and plans and heady with your perceived probability of success. If you can just get off on the right foot, you’ll be flying full-speed ahead into the new year like an Olympic champ. You’ve visualized. You’ve fantasized. You’ve rigged the motivational side of the game in your favor, and you’re itching–no, on fire to jump in.
At 11:59PM New Year’s Eve, we’re all winners and champions and life-hackers and Highly Effective People. Then the New Year rolls in, all glittery and full of promise: the angels sing, the fireworks burst, the champagne pops, and everybody shrieks with the delight of their own untapped potential and optimistic future days, and the starting pistol goes off and–!
And you trip. Right off the blocks, maybe still in the gate with your foot caught in the rails, flat on your face with a mouthful of dirt, and you think: Oh, right. Here comes the New Year, same as the Old Year.
It always seems to come as a bit of a shock, and yet it happens literally every New Year’s Day. I meant to post this yesterday, but then it was a crazy, uncontrolled cluster of a day involving cat vomit, undependable naps, even worse bedtime routines, piles of dirty dishes, and sticky kitchen floors, and meltdowns, and crazy, and just–nope. It was a needed reminder that a date change is not a fairy godmother’s wand that magically turns you into the better version of yourself. Not that I really expected it to (maybe hoped…dreamed…wished?), but I think we always hope the shininess will last for at least the first day of the New Year.
Lots of folks seem to be down on goals/resolutions/etc. this year–a perhaps reasonable and sensible response to the often overzealous Resolutioners screaming about going to the gym four hours every day (for real, this time!), or howling about getting a dozen fiction sales because GOAL. I get that. I get the cynicism, because it’s all too easy to get sucked into the fervor of the glittery ball dropping and think: Yeah. This Year. YEAH.
But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to imagine the ideal you, the one who keeps up with the dishes, watches less TV, jogs regularly, writes daily, etc. I think sometimes, we all need that day to pause, reflect, dream: How could I be better? What would make me happier/more fulfilled/more at peace than I am here at the very end of the old year, trying to drag myself over the finish line (even if it’s really just another mile-marker in the marathon of life)?
I think it’s vital to stop and reevaluate, change things up–heck, even try and fail to change. It helps us realize what our priorities are, and success or failure, we learn a little more about ourselves through this process every year. Our strengths verses our weaknesses, our desires verses our abilities, our aspirations verses our current realities: when else do we stop to think about these things in the course of the typical year? And not just think about them, but actually try to take action to change our situations?
So although yesterday completely lost its glamorous shine, and I now look ahead to a year that will undoubtedly incorporate many failures–and probably some successes , too–I remind myself: Dream big. Try a new approach. Test new theories about yourself. So what if you fail? You’ll know you a little better by the time next New Year’s rolls around. :)
Happy New Year’s, Everybody! Onwards and upwards!