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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stories and goals

This past month has been an interesting one... Taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge and writing down the story that's kicking it's way out of my head. Some days, I feel like I'm not even the one writing it, instead, I'm just the vessel for it to be born.

Other days are more painstaking.

The thing I have learned is that I am the most creative when I work first thing in the morning and when I give myself a time frame. So I have been getting up at 5am most days so I can write before anyone is awake. The days when I have all day, it takes all day. So weird.

This month is almost over, though and I am planning to settle things down. I don't think I will force the 1667 word count thing, since I have a lot of other things that need to get done. My house is a mess, my ads are falling behind. I have presents to buy.

So, the goal for December will be to get up at 5am and write until 6:30am. Whatever I get written, I get written. But I will continue the story and move it forward with the goal of having a first draft of the entire novel by March and be sending it out to look for an agent by April. Seems like a good initiation month.

The story is shaping up and it is in some ways, very unexpected. It's been a lot of fun to write and a lot of fun to dream up. I hope that I am able to get it published and continue on with the other books... There will be five of them in all. Six at most, depending on where the story takes me.

So, wish me luck. This is going to be a whirlwind...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A time to move forward and relinquish control

When all is said and done, will reach a word count of 28,339 for today.

I have taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge of doing 1,667 words a day for the goal of being at 50,000 words by month's end. Silly me, though, I'm just doing it for myself. I decided that the idea of being a part of the contest didn't appeal to me, just the challenge itself. So far, things are going great. Some days are harder than others to write, but I also find that once I get going, things are a lot easier than I originally thought they would be.

I have a storyline emerging... Characters I love... new characters on the way. I'm writing what will be somewhere around Chapter 13 right now. Seems to be a good time to reflect. Something about the number 13 does that to me.

While the writing side is going great and I am getting more of the details of my plot filled in, I find that I get stuck on a lot of the relationships. Not that I can't write it, but that I get lost in it. Some of my personal relationships as of late seem to have disintegrated and it's left me feeling a little bitter. A little empty. The odd thing is, they were never really relationships in the first place. They were just acquaintanceships with common interests. None of us got together outside of our obligations to whichever cause it was. We just were there for the cause. Now, those causes have taken side routes that I don't jive with and I'm left standing on the sidelines.

It's not all bad, though. Without this in my life, I don't think I would have had the moments of introspection that I've had. The ones that have ultimately led me here. To writing. But it still stings. Knowing that I have put my all into something, for what I deemed to be the right reasons... only to have that thrown aside for seemingly power plays.

I'm so sick of power hungry people.

People who want nothing more than to stroke their own ego, leaving a wasteland of talented people in their wake. People who just want control. I know that's part of my own ego talking. The one that wants to be recognized as a competent, dependable, creative.

Today, one particular group I had devoted two and a half years to, became an active member on their board even, up and got rid of a website I had painstakingly put together. They were virtually unheard of in our town. No one knew about them or even realized something like them existed. So I redesigned their look. Gave them new, vibrant colors. Redesigned their logo to be more modern and less... blah. And it worked. For a while. People were excited. It brought in others. It created interest, sparked debate. New members joined, new board members joined. We even moved. I put a lot of time, energy and even money into the cause. I treated them and the interest of the group almost as a child - a family member who I needed to make sure was taken care of. But I did so without the idea of anything in return. Perhaps that was naive of me. Call me altruistic, but I believed in the cause. Believed in what they stood for. I was there when the new managers were hired. I helped hand pick them. I helped get the new board members on; the ones who would turn out to be power hungry and self serving. The ones who ultimately would turn on me.

That makes me think of Joss Whedon's now famous line, "Curse your sudden, but inevitable betrayal!" LOL!

At least I can laugh about it. ;)

At any rate, this small thing, a new website (which I knew was coming, it was just a matter of time) has set something off in me. Before I can really devote myself to my book and specifically, the relationships in my book, I need to let go of the ones that are holding me back. The ones that I feel some small sense of betrayal over. I need to bless them on their merry way and learn from them. Both the good and the bad.

Perhaps they will even find a way to make it into my story. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Writer Emerges

So... with my desire to abandon - well, mostly anyway - my role as graphic designer, something completely unexpected emerged.

I found that I love to dream - to create - to write.

To write.

Huh. I can honestly say I didn't really see that one coming. I have always liked to write and communicate - don't get me wrong. I just never really looked at it as something I could professionally do. My aunt is a writer and though she has been doing it a long time... I never wanted to be compared to her. My mother is fine artist and while I can draw... I never wanted to be compared to her, either. I wanted to make my own way. I guess I have, in a round about way. I am able to blend and merge these two world and in an ideal world, it would be successful.

What is success to me? Loving what I do - for no one but myself.

Let's face it, I can't really get myself to go away (to coin a phrase from Matchbox 20).

It all started sometime back in September when I had lunch with a very dear friend. I asked her what she saw in me and what career pops into her mind first. She told me, a writer. From that moment, we started discussing things for story ideas and I actually started to... dare I say it... excited! For the first time in a long time, the future didn't look daunting... it looked, INTERESTING!

Which, in some ways is weird because writing a novel is challenging. Especially if you are as crazy as me. Things have to make sense. There has to be back stories, the characters have to make sense... even the names can be painstaking. There has to be twists and turns and events that drive the character to fully accept their world and the lives they lead.

In retrospect, I realize that perhaps, I have always wanted to write - but because of my damn drive to be different and repel the norm, I was pushing away a calling. It may not be my ONLY calling, but for right now, it is and that means something.

I have always admired people who can tell a story - Joss Whedon (he's my hero), J.K Rowling, Suzanne Collins (my current obsession), Amy Sherman-Palladino (the mastermind behind Gilmore Girls), even Stephanie Meyer... While I love the stories that are spun and take what I can from their messages, what has always stayed with me, are the people behind them. Maybe it's just a crazy, new age view - but I think I was getting signs from the universe.

When I was 13, I woke up from a dream so vivid that I could have sworn it was a past life. In this life, I was coming back to my home - one I hadn't seen in so long. Somewhere in the dream I entered a secret room that I never even knew existed and it opened my dream self to a new world of magic. When I woke up, I sat down and wrote about it. I was absolutely compelled to do so. Every day after school, I was at our family's 1990 IBM, typing feverishly. When I was done, I turned it in to my English Teacher for extra credit and promptly stuffed it into my closet.

Through the years, that story has stayed with me... I have carried it from house to house... city to city. But I have always known where it is, even when I wasn't thinking about it. Something in the back of my mind has kept it sacred. To this day, I can still see clearly the room in my dream... the way the sun shone in, the smell, the wallpaper that peeled away reveling a small hidden door inside this hidden room... going down the steps that were behind that other door...

When I took the advice of my friend and started to consider the possibility of writing... something peculiar happened. Ideas came flooding in. Not just for one story, but many - and I couldn't make them stop. It was becoming so overwhelming that I finally sat down to have a meditation with my Muse - so I could ask which ONE should I start with?

My answer? You pick. Until then, I'm keeping them coming. HA!

Another odd thing also took place - I found that I was suddenly surrounded by a wonderful fountain of like minded people! There were amazing writers that I could talk to and be involved with, that were right in front of me already! Some, as young as my brilliant 15 year old friend, Maggie. Others, as old as my parents. They have all been so helpful and receptive, and I feel so blessed to be taken in so graciously.

About a month ago - on 10/10/10, to be exact, I had an amazing idea literally FALL into my head. I wasn't even thinking about books. I was outside playing with my children on a crisp October morning; heck for all I know it was 10:10am! (In all seriousness, it was in the 10am hour! LOL!)

So I am now in the process of writing what is looking like a 4 to 5 book series. I have spent the majority of the past month writing all my ideas down, letting them come as they want and not judging them. Asking questions, seeing if I get answers... I have pages upon pages of notes.

Now, I am taking on a challenge to write 1667 words a day for the entire month of November. While some are doing it for a contest, I am doing it for the love of a challenge. I'm nothing if not good with a challenge! ;) At this very moment, my first real novel sits at 5,958 words and my goal is to be to 8,335 by today's end. (For those of you good with math, I only managed to write close to 1000 words yesterday, so I am playing catch up.)

Even if nothing comes out of it and the book or books never get published, I know that I am enjoying this process and being free to create without feeling bad. I am letting my creative voice free and it feels GOOD!