Saturday, September 1, 2012

Writing, Research, Planning...

So... It's Saturday now. I am, I'm sad to report, behind schedule in writing. I am not, however, behind in research and planning, dusting my house and taking care of some minor household projects that I had intended to tackle but had procrastinated on because so many other things seemed to take precedence and I was too tired at the end of very long days.

Due to Hurricane Isaac, which was more an inconvenience than a serious disaster for me and my family, my youngest two children have been out of school since this past Tuesday. Classes will resume again for them on this coming Tuesday. I forgot Monday is Labor Day and the schools will be closed in honor of that holiday. Also due to the storm, we were without power for approximately 72 hours.

Many, many other people and families have had to endure much more and much worse than we have had to and my thoughts and prayers are with them. There are still thousands of residences and businesses that are without power and could be for a while yet. I feel very blessed that our lives were touched so minimally and that so little damage was done.

A tree from the woods behind our house did fall on the house and on some power lines leading to our home. It didn't do any permanent damage, but it was a little scary when it happened. I was in the kitchen making sandwiches for our lunch (the power had already been out for a little over an hour at this point in our whole neighborhood) and the tree hit the outside wall right where I happened to be standing inside. (I'm very thankful for that wall!) It made a very loud crashing boom and shook the house, but we were all safe.

And, as I mentioned, the power was out for three days. This honestly, really wouldn't have bothered me at all except that it meant no air conditioning and, storm or not, it was still hot and humid. It meant no Internet access (no computer at all!) and no television, no way to charge my cell phone, and the frozen foods in our chest freezer are now going to have to be replaced.

None of that really has to do with my writing, except to be a big excuse for having gotten none done. I could have written in long hand (I've done it before and it doesn't bother me at all) so I can't say lacking access to my word processing program really hindered me. The kids being around did, though. Anyone who knows my kids would totally understand why I cannot write with them in the house. Just trying to compose this post, so far, I've had to get up six times to help them with something or find something, or cook something. I've had to intervene in three arguments. It's very difficult to have a coherent thought, let alone set a thought down as written words with my children around. I can't send them out to play because the ground is still soggy and there may still be downed power lines around.

The kids aside, having no power also meant not being able to update my blogs (or read anyone else's) for a few days. I've found that I enjoy blogging and working on my blogs seems to gear me up to work on my fiction. So, for me, not working on them is a little bit of an inconvenience and disappointment.

Happily, the power was restored late yesterday afternoon! It was so late in the day that I did not work on any blogging, though I probably should have. Instead, I did some research into blogging, writing and publishing. I did some reading of blogs by other writers (of fiction and non-fiction) who have had similar ideas or who made similar forays into writing projects and blogging projects that I've been considering.

I'm glad and thankful that I had the opportunity to spend time doing that research. It may very well be that I am going to change my plans because of what I have learned through the experiences of others. My stories won't change, but the way I was thinking about presenting them or offering them very well might.

My writing comes from imagination kindled by my heart and soul then interpreted and expressed by my mind. The research is fully my brain making me as well informed as possible so that I can make sound judgements and plans. I'm so glad that I can combine all of that into a workable system for myself.

Anyway, I'll be shooting for Tuesday, again, to begin my new novel. I'll be a week behind the schedule I set for myself, but what's a week in the grand scheme of things?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

Well, here it is, Tuesday, and here I am, not writing as I had planned on doing! (Except a brief post to my Scribbles page, of course!) 

I'd fully intended to work (write) today. Honestly! The reason I didn't set my start date as yesterday was because I knew I had errands to run out of the home and I wouldn't be able to devote my entire, uninterrupted day to my work. Sadly, I now know that I won't be able to do that today or tomorrow, either. And perhaps not Friday... The weekends are always catch as catch can.

Reason? The weather is supposed to be extremely severe and the district schools have closed for at least the next two days. 

The single parenting of two active children isn't usually conducive to the writing process... Not in my world, anyway. Generally feeding and caring for them isn't the issue. It's the constant chants of "Mom, Mom, Mom!" and the strident cries of "He took this!" and "He did that!" that get to me. Throw in my having to explain for the 50th time why they cannot go out and play and I just get really frustrated. All of the distractions just mean that I have to resolve myself to the fact that I will have to postpone my plans until Monday.

Oh well!

Off to play another game of Go Fish or checkers...

The best laid plans... They'll keep. Writing doesn't go anywhere... It waits for the right time. Today just isn't that time.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Setting Up Shop... Again...

It's been a while since I've written much of anything; well anything worthwhile. I've jotted shopping lists and addresses on envelopes, penned notes to teachers, made Facebook statuses, typed up some emails, and filled out some forms. None of that is really writing, though. Certainly, none of it is writing from my heart and/or mind.

So, now that school is back in session for the kids and my house is clean(er) after the chaos of summer; and now that my life is much more settled than it was a little over a year ago when I abandoned all of my personal projects in favor of taking care of less pleasant tasks; I feel that I can again turn my attention to my writing and actually have hopes of completing the pieces that I start.

Every November, NanoWriMo is held. A huge online community of writers all shoots for 50,000 words in a month. Well, that's the goal. I signed up for this spectacular event three or four years ago, but I always seem to miss out on all of the fun and accomplishment. Between the kids, personal issues, work... I just have never been able to fit even a few sentences in during the month of November.

I vow that this year will be different! I'm in a different place now (geographically and emotionally) and I believe (okay, I hope) that I will be able to get my 50,000 words written. I'm going to be getting a jump on my writing for NanoWriMo 2012. That should be a big help! Today is Sunday. On Tuesday, I'm all set to begin writing that novel!

Without the challenge and motivation of that competition (did I mention that, not only is NanoWriMo a community of writers all aspiring to the same goal, it's also a contest?) I still plan on settling back into my groove of writing. I miss it! Until the past three years or so, not a day went by that I didn't write something, even if the work wasn't penned with publication in mind, or for the eyes of anyone but myself. 

Ideas have been rolling around in my head all the time that I was away from actually crafting tales. I could say that there are so many that I don't know where to begin, but that is far from the truth. There are bunches of them, but I'm very organized and I do have priorities, especially when it comes to my writing.

My number one priority is to get Freak! written. This time in novel form. (Freak! was originally being written as a screenplay, and I was about half way finished with the first draft when my entire world started crashing and I had to work on rebuilding most everything from scratch while still trying to keep together what I was able to salvage.) While this won't be my first attempt at a novel, it's definitely my most ambitious . It's a very complicated story with a lot of very "interesting" characters. I have to say that, of anything I've ever writen, I love Freak! I need to get this one out of my pointy little head and onto the page.

Freak! isn't the only work I have planned for myself. I have several pages in a spiral notebook filled with ideas for short stories... Some of them I've started but then shelved so I could get life together. I plan on finishing all of those. They all have a related theme and I'm planning an entire book devoted to those stories.

I'm also hoping to work on a writing "experiment." This experiment could get complicated, too, but I think it could be a lot of fun! It will rely very heavily on reader input and a blog (not this blog. I'll be setting up another one in the near future dedicated to my experiment.) I know there are a few people who enjoy my writing and, I hope, more will because of this project.

Besides the work I mentioned above, I'm also going to keep up this blog. I'll be talking about my various writing projects here; how they are progressing, which one I'm working on at any given time, what's been finished... I might end up ranting a little bit, too. Writing is not always easy and life isn't always smooth and, sometimes, I just need to vent. Hopefully, though, there will be very little rant and a whole lot of me sharing the good that writing is and does for me. I really do love to write and find that writing is usually more enjoyable for me than stressful.

Most often the stresses related to writing, for me, aren't really because of the actual writing process. They have to do with computer deaths, thefts or losses, where all work that's been done is suddenly and irrevocably lost. Lost storage disks are another stress. Unpleasant aspects of life that keep me away from spending time at the craft of writing is a big stress, too.

All of the stressful things actually scare me and make me leery of diving back into the ocean of my thoughts and dreams where all of my stories are waiting to evolve from the mythical water creatures of my imagination into living, breathing tales of fiction. So many false starts and unfinished work can be really disheartening. Still, my love for writing is stronger than the fear and I will persevere!

To writing and the the future!