Saturday, November 28, 2015

Won the NaNoWriMo

Hi all,
I did it -hit 50700 and change last Sunday. Another 30 to 40 thousand and I'll have a nice fat first draft.  This week I'll do my very last bits on one of my last revisions of Bright Angel and get that off to my mentor for his comments. Then, when it is out making the excruciatingly slow rounds called for I will work on Crooked Knife, a mystery set locally. Yay!

I've got a short story out and about and a collection of poems building too. And my blog Sojourner in Labrador is being posted on the South Shore version of Haligonia. Oh, and I wrote a very silly murder mystery for our work Christmas party.  So...writing is going very well, thank you.

And yours?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Checking in from NaNoWriMo head

Day 12 and I have 28 thousand brand spanking new words. New people l just met, a plot that is revealing itself bit by bit. It's a mystery and it is set right here in Labrador. More miraculous is the fact that so far none of my characters have decided to go to Paris or Ireland, Cuba or Colorado. Yay!

I'm taking a bit of time off of my job starting tomorrow -just four days and I'm going to be putting on the first of the North West River murder mystery dinners on Saturday, but I'm looking forward to really diving into this new story. And I also want to get my winter groove on. Remember that I like winter here, dust off my snowshoes, plan some wintery stuff.  So that's me checking in.
Do you like winters? Let me know how you embrace this time of year.
this is Dicky Duck, a dear friend of mine. I made him those fine snowshoes for Buddy Day a few years back. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Discipline and the Insecure Writer

Today is the monthly meeting of the IWSG - that`s the Insecure Writers Support Group. 
I`m going to write about the virtue of discipline. Discipline is what needs to be developed in order to achieve one`s goals as an artist. In this case I`m going to be discussing the need to develop a discipline for writing. And the need for it to be YOUR discipline - not someone else`s. Recently I took part in a drawing course - one of several over a year. This last one was thirty days long and the idea was that if I could draw daily for a month my discipline would be set. Those that know me know that there is very little I`m willing to do every day. No. That`s not exactly right. I`m just usually not willing to commit to doing something every day. Except brush my teeth.  Despite this I have, in the past few years, managed to lead a fairly disciplined life. But I have to be the one to decide the parameters. When I finished the thirty days I did not draw every day. I drew about what I`d been doing for the last couple of years - which is mostly every day. I would say that I went down a bit. Yes. And this was a course that was, without a doubt, the best course on anything I`ve ever received. The teacher was (and presumably is still) an utterly fantastic teacher - generous, knowledgeable, kind, and pushy. All good except that my rebel child took some kind of offence at being told I had to do my practice every day in order to consider myself serious. That`s why my drawing practice became reduced. Now, I know this sounds just plain silly - but I`m nearly 64 years old and I actually know my particular quirky brain pretty well. I`m now building up my drawing practice again but slowly and with no judgement. I have a couple of other practices I like to attend to. One is meditating and I am able to do that every day. Because I told myself to do that - no one else has. Oh, it has been suggested, strongly suggested, but never told. For about a year I wrote and mailed a letter every day. I like to walk for at least 20 minutes a day. And of course there is the writing. I haven`t looked at my writing for a couple of weeks now. Once I knew I wasn`t going to meet my Oct. 20th goal and I went off on my trip to see my kids and grandchild, I just stopped. Hopefully, as you read this - I will have had two days back in the saddle. That`s the plan and I`ve figured out how and when to do it. But, again, it is my plan and I do not feel less of a serious writer because I suffer these lapses. I do not lose the plot, my connection to the story, or any of a number of dire things that I`ve heard really excellent writers espouse for those who don`t keep their daily habit up. Nope. The main thing that happens is that I don`t get where I`m going as fast as I plan to. Ah well. Maybe if I didn`t have a job that not only took up my days, but also required a lot of attention when I`m supposedly off, I could be more disciplined. I doubt it though. One thing that I`ve learned in my practice as a therapist is that the main learning we humans need to accomplish, before anything else, is an acceptance of our own delicious quirky selves. Still working on it but woman oh woman, I`m getting better.

You can look forward to me finally finishing what I hope will be one of the very last drafts of Bright Angel this fall.

Last Minute Update: Will definitely be finishing this draft probably by the end of the week. Also, I joined in with the NaNo Nonsense and have 7 thousand words already (will probably have closer to ten when you are reading this). Oh, this is fun!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

doing the NaNoWriMo

What is a NaNoWriMo - it is National Novel Writing Month. (note: it should be International though it would ruin the feel of the acronym in your mouth)  It happens every November - the challenge is to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. That isn't exactly a novel but it is a fair chunk of one. Yep. Think I last did one of these (the BuNoWriMo - a smaller friendly group called the Burrowers who sets a challenge to write a novel in June) in 2011. It was the start of what is now Bright Angel. I did 50 thousand words then and kept going into July and August and now I'm still at it. I'm actually darn close to this last brush through. I'm not going to pick a date as life keeps throwing me curve balls when I do, but soon.

So why start another? Hmmm...

  1. When I do finish Bright Angel it will be gone for a month or two with my mentor. Instead of biting my nails I'd rather get another project on the go.
  2. I've been moderately successful with the challenge. I have one mystery that I think has some good bones but I need to go in and untangle a lot of it. But Bright Angel was easy peasy from the beginning and maybe now I get how to really go at these challenges.
  3. I like a challenge and I'm the teeniest bit bored right now. The NaNo is a big challenge. It is hard to make sure to write 1,667 words a day - especially when I'm busy at work - but I want to. I'm ready for it.
  4. Weirdly - just knowing I'm going to do this has kicked my butt to get this last revision done. Truly.
  5. And finally - who knows? I follow my inner demon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The IWSG is now in session

"Grab your coffee and a chair. I'm afraid if you smoke you'll have to go out on the porch. Has anyone got the minutes from the last meeting? Oh right, Shirley took them and she phoned and told me that she's quit the IWSG. She's not writing anymore. She's taken up becoming a tax accountant - less stress. Well, we might as well just jump into the meeting proper then. For you newcomers this is how we do it - we do a check-in and share with each other what has been our obstacles to writing and how we overcame them or (like Shirl) fell prey to them.  Maybe you'd like to start, Ernest? Then you can go out on the porch and smoke - I know you want to."

"I didn't have any obstacles. I wrote. The novel was in me. Like the bull. I conquered it. I am a man."

"Ooookay, Ernest. Thanks. Please use the container out there for your butts. How about you, Theodor?"

"One book, two book, find a hook. Do I like green eggs and ham? No. But I like to find a publisher in my hat. I am rich, rich I am."

"Well, that seemed straight-forward, Theodor. Seems you struggled with some of your plot elements but overcame them in order to satisfy your public. Very helpful. How did it go with you this past month, Agatha?"

"I simply had to find out who had killed my writing habit. I knew it was one of the people who had come to the village fêtes  on Midsummer's Day. Was it the vicar? He had told me that I needed to spend less time on my writing and more with the other church ladies getting ready for jumble sales. Lady Pomeroy was also a likely suspect. She felt that it wasn't lady-like of me to push sales, that I should sit quietly and let some man do it for me. Or was it that Belgian twit who told me I wasn't clever enough to write? I finally figured out who done it. I'll tell you after our meeting when we all meet for a sherry in the drawing room."

"Goodness, Agatha! You do make a mystery of everything. Very well. How about you Mr. Ondaatje?"

"Michael was working late into the night on his manuscript when he saw the woman wearing the WW2 ambulance driver's uniform steal across the lawn. She was holding the hand of one of the patients and they were whispering in a sort of elaborate code about a painting found in an alcove on the third floor of the estate the hospital had annexed. He left his desk (one he'd put together out of old lawn furniture) and slipped downstairs to see if he could join them for a conversation, or perhaps a bit of a bomb disassembling, or sex. He wasn't quite sure..."

"Hmm... Michael, interesting. I'm sure you'll share more when you get this plot worked out."  and whispers to others, " I'm not sure why Michael refers to himself in the third person, are you?" 

"Well, that's it for today's meeting - unless anyone else has anything to add. Oh! Silly me - I forgot to check in. It's all going as well as can be expected under the circumstances and considering everything that has happened. I'm doing my best to get off my case and onto my side. Well, not onto my side but on my side. Oh, bother. Meeting adjourned. See you all in November."