Friday! My old friend! Let’s get ready to ramble…

24 07 2009

Weather: High: 84 degrees and partly cloudy & muggy. Gah! Thunderstorms later!

Well Friday has started off with a bit of non-fun. Missed my usual train into Chicago thanks to one of our interminably long freight trains in NW Indiana. Took a later train and made it into the office by the skin of my teeth. (An expression I have yet to understand, but there you go.)

Since yesterday’s post was so truncated, I’ll try and get the stuff said today I meant to say yesterday.

Working on the last few chapters of “When the Lights Go Down” is proving more difficult than I thought. Funny thing is, I have the plot worked out, have the scenes mapped and even have bits written. It just isn’t flowing like everything before it has. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting nervous about finishing it and am subconsciously dragging my proverbial feet or if I’m really having an issue with the ending I’ve chosen. Could probably be a combination of both or neither. Ahhh! Writing Angst! My old friend. But I have every intention of spending time this weekend focused on the manuscript and reviewing my outline. Maybe there’s room for tweaking and improvement. (Who am I kidding? There’s ALWAYS room for tweaking & improvement.)

I’ve had the major good fortune to be friends and acquaintances with people who are either in the process of writing books or have already had books published. The nicest thing about this is not what you might first assume.
I’ve never had any intention of currying favor with these people to get a foot in the door. Truth is, most of them I knew for a long time before they got published or were entrenched in the process of writing.

What has been advantageous is listening to their discussions about the process of writing, the pitfalls of getting published and all the various cack and nonsense that tends to crop up around both. Sometimes the best way to learn how to be a better writer and avoid the Writing 101 & newbie errors is to just ask a writer who is further along the path than you. Or read their blogs. Follow them on Twitter. And, as you’ll find in other areas, sometimes you learn more from what DIDN’T work or from their stories of rejection that you will from the successes.

The one thing I’ve learned from all the writers, published and not quite yet published, is that there are no shortcuts, no fast tracks and no wormholes to get you past the difficult bits. To quote Mur from I Should Be Writing. “It requires not only butt in chair, but daily butt in chair.”(I HIGHLY recommend going to her site and listening to her podcasts. Some of the best motivation & advice for writers can be found here.)

In other words if you want to get a book published, you have to put in the time writing it. Crafting it. Getting your words pulled out of the ether, onto a document, then making the words play nice with each other. And this process takes time.And generates headaches. And frustration.

A lot of people have also said, and it’s definitely a truism, “If you really want something, you can make it happen. You may have to work for it though.”

As lovely as the idea is that you could just sit down in a weekend and churn out a fantastic novel, it’s probably not going to happen. Because life happens. And words fail you. And eventually your butt gets sore from sitting. But honestly, excuses are not going to get your book written. (Thanks, Mur.)

I’ve managed a six hour writing marathon here and there.  Both my brain and legs rebelled after that.  A couple things I found out really quickly when I first set out to write were such bits of wisdom as “Typing does not equal Writing”  and “What seemed like a brilliant plot twist when you were writing Chapter One, suddenly becomes ridiculous and unusable when you reach Chapter 10.”

I’m sure every writer finds their own truisms as they start writing. A bunch of my friends and I have been experiencing what we all fondly refer to as the “What the HELL was I thinking? I HATE this story!” phase. It usually hits about halfway to 3/4 of the way through the manuscript. This is where your writer’s dedication gets tested. ESPECIALLY on your first novel.
Hopefully, you can set it aside for a day or a week and come back to it with fresh eyes and renewed love for the story & characters. What I’m trying to say here is the enthusiasm you have at the beginning of the story may lag in the middle, and the momentum may abandon you. It will come back, but you may have to work your way back to it.

So basically, I’m learning a lot from my friends, and let’s face it, no writer exists in a vacuum. We all absorb things from other people, for good or for bad. The way I figure it, no one method works for everyone.
As I’ve said before, one writer’s habits would drive another to homicide.  But it’s a good idea to  listen to people who’ve accomplished what you yourself are trying to accomplish.
Granted, taking their advice and using their methods & habits may not be a guarantee that you will mirror their success. But if you pay attention, you might just learn a thing or two about not tripping yourself up, or better yet, get renewed motivation to KEEP your butt in the chair and continue writing.

Ramble done for the day.  I need to get my butt back in the chair soon.  Today I had a nice anvil-to-the-skull epiphany that helped me work through a gap in my plot. Now I just need to get the damn thing written. 🙂

Torchwood finale tonight, and I have a gut wrenching feeling I’m going to be twice as wrecked as I was last night. But it’s been amazing so far.  I’ll probably catch Eureka on the replay later. And then there’s Being Human tomorrow night, which I am practically geebling over right now.

Also, just realized that Dragon* Con is just a little over a month away. Feeling that double edged sword of anticipation and terror.  I’m usually not good in crowds and I’m obviously going to have to deal when I get there. (Comic Con sounds like it would have been a nightmare for me.)  But I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends, some of which I’ll be meeting in person for the first time. (Such is the nature of the internet community.) And there are bands I’m looking forward to seeing and some sci fi people that I’d like to meet as well. Probably a good thing my husband Brian will be there. I have a feeling he might need to be lugging around the smelling salts for me in some cases. 🙂

Have a good weekend everyone. 🙂

Now playing: VNV Nation – Still Waters
via FoxyTunes




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