Archive for ‘Writing’

December 7, 2010

Moving day!

December 1, 2010

Oh, hello there.

What shall I say today, since my mind insists on being in not-coming-up-with-clever-things-to-say mode?  How about not a thing.   I’ll let others say it best, who have gone before me.

Now I’m not one of those “quote people.” (You know the ones.)  But I do enjoy wisdom, irony, and cleverness.  And today I was looking up quotations by literary icons as candidates for the backs of my soon-to-come substitute teaching business cards.  Here were some I liked.

From the uber-masculine Papa, some words, soft and deep:

“All good books have one thing in common — they are truer than if they had really happened.” & “All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”

From the sweet, solemn, and sometimes cranky Emily:

“A word is dead when it is said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day.”

From that one dude, T.S. (Only because it would make him angry be disregarded so.  And you can bet in this quote he is talking about his own…):

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”

From the happy and haphazard Jack Kerouac:

“Maybe that’s what life is… a wink of the eye and winking stars.”

November 11, 2010

Airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars

A few things on my mind today…

I’m sick.  That’s right. Last week I bought 2 big cartons of OJ because my favorite Simply Orange was on sale, and we started drinking it furiously. I also had excess toiletry money in the budget and decided it was a good time to buy and begin taking daily vitamins.  And I began Yoga.  And what did I get from all my healthy endeavors?  A nasty cold.  And when did it rear its ugly head?  The morning of my first ever substitute job.  Thankfully that first day (Monday)  was mostly a sore throat.  Yesterday (I hope) was the worst, and I’m not ashamed to say that while I did two very strenuous things — taking my computer to the genius bar and making chicken soup — I spent most of the day lying on the couch watching Veronica Mars.

I had to skip Yoga yesterday morning because I figured nose breathing wasn’t really going to happen for me… but I’ve gone twice so far and survived!  Thankfully this yoga practice continues my experience with Americanized yoga studios, and actually this one doesn’t attempt to bring in spirituality whatsoever.  It’s funny — I almost miss being told to breathe out my negative energy. :)  As it is, the entirety of my mental focus is devoted to not falling out of the silly balance poses, which I do all the time anyway.  My second session was significantly more difficult than my first.  I thought it was just me until I left class and all the regulars were saying it was brutal — and the hottest class they’d ever been in.  Some were estimating upwards of 115 degrees.  Yikes.

Novel-writing is still eh.  While some of my friends are carting right along, I cannot seem to find an idea I actually want to stick with for a whole novel, and I’m beginning to think I’m far too ADD and far too much of a perfectionist to see this thing through.  What that really means, of course, is that I should figure out a way to combat ADD and perfectionism.  I’ll let you know how that goes. :)

Happy Thursday, all!  Today: More rest, lunch with Hannah and picking up my fixed computer (!).  If I get industrious, mayyybe some online Christmas shopping/brainstorming. :)


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November 9, 2010

Dessert is better than dinner

..which is why I made SK’s apple cheddar scones again today and Joy of Cooking‘s awesome scotch shortbread a few days ago.

This evening I put away a trunk full of groceries and started some chicken stock.  It’s simmering away, looking (I’m pretty sure) like chicken stock should look…

Hopefully, this stock will become a delicious chicken soup; if it’s not good enough to be soup, it will become a more flavorful substitute for water in things like rice. :)

Here’s a short and sweet summary of what we’ll eat this week: chicken noodle soup, garlic and gruyere sausage links, steak salad, and quinoa salad.  This will be my first time cooking quinoa.  I’m pretty excited!

Want to know the awesome reason this post is rushed?  It’s because I’m going to write 2,000 words tonight as soon as I post this and boil some water for tea, which I will enjoy with my third scone of the day.  Yep.

November 7, 2010

How’s that novel coming?

Oh, you know……

If anyone has checked out my NaNoWriMo profile lately, you’ll know that I’m seriously behind in terms of word count. I’ll be honest – I’m a little stuck.  You see, first I learned that people actually plan these novels.  Months in advance.  They have plot outlines, titles ready to go, even book cover designs (?!).  I don’t know how you could possibly settle on a “cover” for an unwritten and unpublished novel, but then again most of the covers are horrendously bad anyway. I’m mean.   I’ve also discovered several flaws in the NaNo system.  One of these is that 50,000 words actually amounts to a novella at best.  So although I still hope to hit a point one of these days when I just can’t stop because my characters are so believable and my plot is so riveting, my goals have become (only slightly) smaller:  write a whole lot, try to do it every day, and don’t feel bad about stopping to plan sometimes instead of ending up writing things like, “She went into the kitchen.  She thought about how her dad really wasn’t who he said he was.”  (Don’t worry, those sentences are not in my novel.  But I’d be lying if I said the quality of my content thus far is much more interesting…).

Please don’t think I’m making excuses.  I’m my worst critic (this I promise you) and yet despite my measly word count I feel like I have accomplished a slew of intangibles that have set me well on my way to learning more about this evasive novel-writing business. And, as with most hard things worth doing, the more I learn, the more I realize I do not know a single thing.  Really, I have no business even starting down this road.

But silly me, here I go.

Three things I’ve learned so far (of many):

1. Goodness gracious, first drafts are bad when I refuse to let my inner editor out of its cage.  I’m talking bad.  Like, can’t even explain.  I somehow summoned the guts to let Sara read my first few pages, which were horrible, and I can honestly say nothing I’ve written since those first couple days has been even as good as that mess.  But, first drafts are first drafts.  I might throw away 80% of it, but hopefully what I keep is worth keeping.  Look at me being optimistic.

2. I’ve learned that to write a novel you have to have a plot. Sounds obvious, right? Ha. I’ve learned how to create a snowflake plot, which sounds pretty cute.  Cuter than it is.  Although I haven’t completed my snowflake plot diagram, I imagine this to be fairly close to the way my brain works.  I’ve also tried some backwards design — working backward from a scene or line of dialogue I know I want to include to find out how my character got there.

3. Sometimes writing makes me feel like kicking and screaming, but it feels pretty good to be able to honestly say, “I’m working on a novel.”  No one needs to know how bad it is, or that it’s in its totally helpless infant stage and that it wakes up crying every few hours and I don’t know what to do with it.  If that sense of satisfaction is any indication of how utterly satisfying it would be to actually finish the thing, I’ll take it.  It just might take a while.

I don’t want to tell you how many times Eric has had to force me write this week.  So I won’t.


November 2, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Although I’m an aspiring writer, I’m very out of the loop as far as writing community and the writing industry.  Therefore, although it has been going on for a long time, I have just been informed of a little project called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  By little project I mean HUGE project — the goal is to write a 175-ish-page novel in the month of November by writing every day — that amounts to a LOT every day.  Since it’s the 2nd already, in order to participate I have to write 1,724 words every day.  Should I go for it?!…..  You can track my progress here to see if I actually try this out.  If you want to participate, make sure you make me your writing buddy!  Who’s with me?