Writing Toward Home

Writing , Ideas, and Encouragement

Category: The Writing Life (page 1 of 2)

Thirty in Thirty Day 29


Thirty in Thirty Day 29   What I’ve Been Reading

 

Anyone who is serious about being a writer should also be a serious reader.  What should you read? Anything and everything. I believe that a writer should read widely, in many formats and many genres, paying close attention to what the author of the book, essay, or article is doing regarding style, theme, and format. This is known as reading like a writer. Everything one reads changes the person in some way.

I attempt to read a wide variety of texts on a monthly basis. Here is a summary of my latest reading:

The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis  A debut novel. The narrator is writing about his father, a brilliant but tortured writer. This book is set  in the NW mountains of North Carolina, which is where I am currently living, so that made it a compelling read for me. This is a character–driven tale with an unreliable narrator. A very Gothic feel and a mystery as well.

The Underground Railroad  By Colson Whitehead. This was the community read for the local literary festival. Fascinating, but difficult  to read due to the subject matter. Reminded me of  Beloved By Toni Morrison.

Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff  Story of a Jewish woman working in a circus in occupied France during World War ll. Another great, but harrowing read.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware  Classic mystery story. A page turner. A bit of a respite from some heavy reading.

The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers  True story of a young girl from Africa who becomes an international chess sensation despite great odds.

Final Vinyl Days  by Jill McCorkle  Short story collection by a writer from Lumberton, NC.  The stores are funny, heart-wrenching and enjoyable.

How To See by David Salle Essays on art.

Patron Saint of Dreams By Phillip Gerard  Wide-ranging essays on death, grizzly bears, hurricanes and more.

Horoscopes for The Dead By Billy Collins Poetry

Sunday New York Times.  Essays, news, op-ed pieces, book reviews and more.

What have you been reading?

Thirty in Thirty Day 26

Thirty in Thirty Day 26:  The Mysteries of a Writer’s Mind

Every once in a while I think I have this writing thing figured out. ( Bear with my hubris for just a moment. It doesn’t last long.) 

I’ll have a story idea, sit down at the computer, and things will flow in the direction I have in mind. Easy-peasy. I high-five the muse and we both share a smug little smile.

 But, it’s a trap and a snare. You would think by now I would be wary after such a serendipitous event and wait for the other shoe to drop. The problem is that writers, out of necessity, are optimistic (read: deluded) creatures. If we weren’t how could we keep going?

The point of all of this is that the ideal writing session described above is a rarely seen creature indeed, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.

 Usually I start with an idea or a character and no matter what I do they won’t behave and stick to the script. What I’ve found is that if I try to force the issue they pack their bags and sneak off or play dead. My pleas about my great  plan do no good.

The only way to avoid a total defection is to allow the character or idea to go off in whatever direction they choose. My job is to forget my preconceived notions, tag along, and make notes.

This is essentially what happened yesterday as I began Part 2 of a story I am calling “The Key.” ( see Day 22 and Day 25 of Thirty in Thirty).

When I wrote Part 1 about a woman receiving a key from a mysterious old man, I envisioned a fantasy involving a quest, magic, and high adventure with Annie as the protagonist.

Yesterday, however, Annie’s memories revealed an entirely different story involving the beginning of  The Infinity Club, a group of junior high misfits. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. I tried to steer Annie back toward my vision, but she had a different purpose in mind. When she revealed her disability I was caught off guard. I sensed anger and pain that I had not expected.

At that point it was as if she looked and me and said, “ Ok. Now do something with this.” Then she folded her arms and refused to divulge anything else.

I wisely stopped writing and told her I would be back when she was ready. I requested her permission to publish what I had written and that was that.

I hope Annie shows back up soon. I have a lot of questions.

 

In the meantime, I have other projects to work on.

The mysterious workings of my writer’s brain are what beckon me to my computer each day. The story of Annie and her secret is not an isolated event. It has happened too many times to discount. It can be exasperating, thrilling, and a bit unnerving. Still the anticipation of who will show up and what baggage they will carry keeps me at my desk. It is not a tidy way of working, but it certainly isn’t boring.

 

When I have talked about this before I have had people look at me with skepticism and reservation. What I am tempted to say is, “If you think that’s weird, you should hear about my dreams.”

Thirty In Thirty Day 24

Thirty in Thirty Day 24    My Storytelling DNA

 

I am a person who spends a great deal of time roaming around in the riotously overgrown fields of my imagination using words as my compass. I have two  large crates of spiral notebooks, legal pads and file folders filled with my scrawled stories, essays, and memories going back over three decades. For all of the years and paper that have been given to this adventure, my publishing successes can be counted on two fingers:  an essay in a small neighborhood paper and an excerpt of a novel in an online magazine.

Question: Why do I keep doing it?

Answer: Because I can’t not do it.

I have been thinking lately about the origin of this compulsion. I need only glance at my family tree to find the answer. First of all, I am a Southerner, which means that storytelling is inborn, imprinted, and ingrained on my psyche.

 

My father was a storyteller. At night he would sit on the edge of my bed and tell my brother and I fairy tales, folk tales  and true ( well,  mostly true) stories from his childhood. We had our favorites that we requested over and over. Mine was a story called “ Bozo the Button Buster” from Rootabaga  Stories by Carl Sandburg.

 

My mother did her storytelling in the car to keep us entertained on errands. She told us “Fractured Fairytales” in which she mixed all of the stories and characters together so that Red Riding Hood might go climbing up Jack’s Beanstalk to look for the Three Little Pigs. We would beg for these silly stories that I am sure she made up on the spot. Mom also made up a song about a little fox who was always going on adventures and taunting someone to try and catch him. This song had endless verses and would have us giggling and singing along on the refrain.

 

The other touchstone location for my storytelling heritage was my grandmother’s kitchen table. Every Sunday afternoon, my mother’s family would gather at Granny’s house. There were usually 20 or more people there all talking, joking, laughing and telling tales. I sat at that table week after week and soaked in the comforting stew of words and stories. Even now, I can recall the timbre of the various voices, the elongated syllables of the drawls honed in the North Georgia mountains, the unique expressions of each raconteur, and the warmth and joy that enveloped me in that cozy environment.

Most of those folks are gone. But the memories, stories, and characters reside within me along with tales of my own. Each of those deserves  to be remembered, celebrated, and shared.

So I keep writing.

Thirty in Thirty Day 23

Thirty in Thirty Day 23  A Festival, Friends, and Filling the Reservoir

I have so enjoyed the challenge of writing every day for thirty days. ( 1 week to go!) However, even when one has lots of story ideas and a love of creating, there comes a time when the tank is running a bit low. Over the past three days I have engaged in activities to refill my mental reservoir.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, calls this filling the well. One of the best ways to do that is to take an Artist Date or two. An Artist Date can be anything that brings pleasure and helps nourish and recharge the batteries of the artist within.

Here are the things I have done recently replenish my creative well:

Thursday I took a long drive along winding mountain roads enjoying the early fall colors and taking photographs of old barns.

Friday I met a new writer friend for drinks at a local restaurant. We sat for two hours discussing  our writing  projects and long-term goals and making plans to meet regularly to support one another.

Today my husband and I drove to our former city and spent the day with good friends. We went out to lunch, attended an art festival, went out for dinner at a favorite restaurant, and ended the evening over drinks and great conversation that ranged from travel, to history, to board games, and politics.

The art festival was a feast for this writer’s soul as I took in all of the sights, sounds, and smells.

There were dozens of booths filled with paintings, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, and sculpture.  There is nothing better than immersing ones self in the creative work of others to invite inspiration. A dozen story ideas presented themselves while I browsed the booths. And of course, I couldn’t resist making a couple of purchases.

The air was filled with the competing scents of various carnival foods: kettle corn, funnel cakes, bratwurst, cotton candy, fudge and much more.

 There were storytellers, clowns, dancers, and musicians on various stages, plus the hundreds of people and dogs that roamed the sidewalk that encircled the lake.

 

We walked and looked and chatted with the artists and among ourselves.

It was a lovely, relaxing day. Now I am back at the hotel, propped up in bed next to my snoring spouse feeling grateful, refreshed and renewed.

When we return home from our mini-vacation on Monday I will be ready to jump back into the studio again.

Thirty in Thirty Day 21

Thirty In Thirty Day 21   

 The Creative Life: Doing What You Can Not Do

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Choosing to be a creator writer, painter, composer, fiber artist, sculptor is to also choose to be a life-long learner. In every creative endeavor there is always something to learn: a new form, technique , medium, or method.  That is the joy and the struggle of being a maker. There is exhilaration and fear in learning something new, in pushing one’s self. 

There are often breakthroughs, triumphs and discoveries.

More often one experiences struggle, doubt and do-overs. It may involve painting over a canvas, pulling out stitches, crossing out notes, filling up the wastebasket , or hitting the delete button.

It is not a straight road; rather, it is a wild stumble though the brambles looking for the path. And, it takes time.

Picasso said, “ I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

 

Yes.

For many years I have been working in long-form fiction – the novel.  I completed one a number of years ago. It is the one that many novelists refer to as their “under-the-bed book” because it will never see the light of day. I worked on it for several years until I completed it. Then I put it away.  It had served its purpose by teaching me how to write a novel and how not to write one. I learned how to tell a story.

Four years ago I participated in NANOWRIMO. It is an international event that takes place every November. The goal is to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days.  That means averaging around 1700 words per day.  I began a new novel with a character and a situation that had been bouncing around in my brain for a while. I completed the challenge and ended up with a completed novel that needed lots of polish.

I am on draft number six of that story. What I have gained from that effort was how to revise and edit a novel length manuscript. Plus, I have learned perseverance.

 

It is still a work in progress that I hope to publish one day.

Recently I have been working on a series of short fairy tales for children.  I have enjoyed writing complete stories in this shorter form. This has kindled a desire to write short stories for adults with an eye on publishing in magazines. This is a recommended step for fiction writers who wish to build a platform that will attract  the interest of agents and book publishers.  So now I am teaching myself to write short stories.

 I have been using the Thirty in Thirty challenge  to try out my skills in quickly developing interesting characters and compelling  story lines. So far I have been able to write some acceptable opening scenes. Now I need to figure out how to extend a story premise to a satisfying conclusion.

I just keep plugging along, one step at a time.

 “I am doing what I cannot do in order to learn how to do it.”

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The Secret to Story

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The Secret to Story : Ask 3 Questions

 

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After months of playing with words, and exploring poems, book and song titles and linguistic devices,, it is time to get to the big idea of writing: STORY.   Whether you write poetry, fiction, memoir or essays, you are telling a story.

 

We human beings are hard-wired by the creator to think in story. Our brains love a good story whether it comes in the form of tales around a campfire, gossip, a great novel, a movie or your favorite Netflix series. Stories entertain us, aid us as we navigate the world, assist us in making sense of events ( even politics!) and help us remember.

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So, what makes a good story? We have all watched shows or movies or read books that did not resonate for one reason or another. Sometimes we can point to a certain flaw that makes a story not work, but often there is just a vague sense of something not fitting. We may not be able to define it, but our brains innately recognize a story that is well told.

 

While it is easy to detect a good story, it is harder, much harder to actually create one. There in a nutshell is the struggle that writers, especially novices, face. While the following advice is not foolproof, it will help you get started with a story that has potential.

 

When you want to begin a story, ask and then answer the following three questions:

 

What if? Who cares? So what? Let’s take each in turn, realizing that all three must be represented in a “good” story.

 

 

~ What if? In asking “What if?” you are setting up the premise of the story. Many writing prompts online and in books start with “What if?” to set up a certain situation.

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~What if a man overhears his boss planning to let him go?

~What if a woman discovers a shocking secret about her new husband?

~What if a man discovers a stolen art masterpiece in his mother’s basement?

~What if a young woman opens a letter that contains a key and a set of instructions that promise risks, but also rewards?

 

 

What if questions like these and many others make great story starters, but the premise cannot be sustained until we ask the next question.

 

~Who cares? In asking “Who cares?’ you are making decisions about the protagonist or main character of your story. Who is this person that has found themselves in a particular situation? Is the person , a hipster, an heiress, a con man, a grandmother, a writer, a crime boss, a priest, a news anchor, a struggling single parent?

Deciding who exactly the story is about determines how he/she will respond to the “What if?” question. Their values, life circumstances and personal history will all play into what they do when faced with that situation.

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Once you answer the “Who cares?” question, some storyline options open and others close. Knowing who you have in the driver’s seat of the story helps you decide where the action will lead.

 

~”So What?” Now that you have your specific character in a certain circumstance, you need to decide why this situation matters to this person. What are the stakes? What about her life will change because of this? How will relationships be altered? How will he change internally because of this scenario and the choices he makes? What will she give up or gain? What will your protagonist learn about himself and the world?

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The answers can lead to success or failure, happiness or despair for your protagonist and therein lies the rest of your story.

 

In a nutshell then, a story is about how a specific person responds to a certain situation and the changes that result from choices he makes.

 

Start a story.

 

  1. Choose a “What if?” scenario. You can use one of the ones I provided or your own.
  2. Then decide “ Who cares?” about this circumstance. Choose a certain sort of person who gets caught up in this situation and must do something in response.. The more specific about your character you can be, the better. Who he is will determine what he does.
  3. Next, have your character begin to make decisions or take actions. Those decisions will have implications that will change his life for good or ill.

 

 

As you write, keep asking those questions until you feel that the situation has been resolved satisfactorily. Congratulations, you have a story!

 

Happy Writing!

 

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Wordplay Wednesday: Free-writing

Wordplay Wednesday :   Free-writing

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Over the past few months we have explored words and played with them in a variety of ways . The purpose behind those activities was to demonstrate the potential that words possess. Used purposefully they can reveal, inspire, inform, entertain, engage, and more. By playing with words in different ways for a short exercise, a writer becomes more comfortable and confident in wielding them for a specific purpose.

 

The next step in playing with words is Free-writing, which is the equivalent of an artist’s warm-up sketches she may do before tackling her main work or the scales a musician undertakes before playing a piece of music. It is writing practice of a short duration that helps limber up the writing muscles and get them ready.

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In Free-writing you use a word, phrase, or quote as a starting off point for your writing. It is a way of stimulating thinking, not a writing assignment. The words or phrase may end up not being used at all if your thinking takes you in a different direction. The purpose for having a starting point is so that you don’t find yourself staring a blank page frozen by indecision over what to write about.

 

The Process:

 

Writing practice should occur on a regular basis. Set a schedule for yourself that works. Daily writing practice is ideal, but not always practical. Decide how many days you will practice and stick to it.

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Writing practice is best done by hand. The physical process of writing longhand creates an important mind-body connection.

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You need some type of bound paper and a pen. You can use legal pads, the marbled composition books or spiral notebooks. I make a bulk purchase of inexpensive 1 subject spiral notebooks when the office supply stores are having sales before school starts. By using something that does not cost much, I free myself up to throw words down on the paper with abandon. Choose a pen that you enjoy writing with and always have a spare handy.

 

Write the date at the top of your paper.

 

Set a timer for 15 minutes. The purpose of the timer is to set parameters so that you will start writing quickly. You don’t have time to worry too much about each word when the timer is counting down. Just write!

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Write the prompt at the top of your page. Read it over and then start writing whatever ideas pop into your mind. Don’t edit your words. Just write them down and keep going. Ride the wave of your thoughts wherever they take you. You might write a memory, a poem, a scene, a character sketch or, an essay. Don’t decide beforehand, just let the writing take the form it needs to take in the moment.

 

Keep your hand moving until the time is up. If you cannot think of what to say, write that. Your brain will quickly tire of “ I cannot think of what to write about” and it will come up with an idea or image to get you back writing.

 

Do not stop to edit, cross out ,or re-read until time is up. This is not the time for worrying about spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Just get those ideas and thoughts on the page. You can pretty them up later if you wish.

 

Write what matters to you. That’s where the power and magic live. This is not school, so you don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone but yourself.

 

Read aloud what you have written. The process of hearing your own words aloud is a way of discovering and honing your unique writing voice.

 

 

Now for the prompts. You may be wondering where the words and phrases for writing practice come from. I get my best prompts from reading. When I read, I always have a pen and something to write on nearby. I usually stick several index cards in the books I read. They make great bookmarks and are also handy for writing down words, phrases, or quotes that I want to remember. When filled up the cards migrate to my desk and wait until I need a prompt for writing practice.

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The best prompts are ones that resonate with you. If it makes an impression when you are reading, then it will likely make a good prompt for writing. Collecting prompts is something I enjoy. I encourage you to do that as well. However, if that is not your inclination, keep reading.

 

Each Wednesday, I will post 5 prompts that you can use for your writing practice during the week. I will also post some of my writing from the previous week’s prompts. Let’s do this together!

 

 

The most frightened I have ever been

 

An obsession

 

Thanks for nothing

 

Give yourself permission to….

 

Embarking on an adventure

 

 

Happy Writing!

 

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The Joys and Struggles of the Writing Life

The Joys and Struggles of the Writing Life

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 A writer is someone who writes. I am a writer. That means I spend a lot of time in my studio  alone with my thoughts, ideas, and words. They tumble from my  mind, to my fingers, into notebooks, on scraps of paper, on sticky notes, and onto my computer screen.  Sometimes they get shared with others, often they do not.  I have to say it is not lonely work. All of my characters, both those realized on the page and those still clamoring for attention in my head keep me company.  Daily we set out on quests together. Sometimes there is an itinerary and perhaps a map and we know where we are headed. More often we move by serendipity and impulse, taking the distracting side roads that offer adventure.

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This is the best part of being a writer.  When I am in the middle of a story in the company of  interesting characters, the time just flies by. I start writing or typing and soon I am caught up in the narrative and I forget everything else. Hours go by and I will look up in a bleary-eyed haze and realize I have written through lunch and that it’s time to think about making dinner or walking the dog who is pacing nervously at the door.  That is the reason I write. Being able to construct whole worlds populated with characters I created is so much fun that it does not feel like work. I have read often about writers who say that writing is agonizing and frustrating  and I do not understand that sentiment at all. The act of creating something that did not exist before is what keeps me going. It is powerful.

On the other hand, being a writer also means trying to find a way to get your stories out into the world. This is the tough part. You send out your work that you have spent hours writing, re-writing., honing, and polishing and you cross your fingers and wait. Recently I submitted a story to a magazine and waited for two months. I knew it was a long shot because they only publish 24 stories a year and  receive hundreds of submissions.  When the deadline passed and I had not heard anything I was disappointed but not surprised.

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Two days after the deadline for notification,  I received word that my work had passed the first round and was short listed for publication. I was elated.   This would be my first national publication which would mean validation from the “writing world.” Not only that, unlike many magazines, it offered a cash payment which would vault me into the ranks of a professional writer. I was rather full of myself for a few days. Still, I kept writing.

A  week later, the second email informed me that my story had not made the final cut. Despite the kind words they offered for my work, I was devastated.  Alas, this is the most common outcome for hopeful writers. Knowing I am in good company helps a bit, but the sting is still there.  I allowed myself a bit of a pity party and then I went back to work.

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I am a writer.  Does the fact that I am still unpublished   and unknown change that? No.  A writer is someone who writes. I keep writing, churning out stories, because I love it.  It is what I was created to do.  Those noisy characters in my head insist that I tell their tales so I have adopted the roles of scribe, bard, storyteller. I will also keep putting my stories into the world, no matter the odds. One day  soon, I hope, publication will happen. If not I will still write.  I am a writer. It is what I do.

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Who is a Writer?

Who is a writer?

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As I have stated before,  a  writer is someone who writes.  However, you may want a fuller profile of  the kind of person who decides to be a writer.  Who exactly are they?  

Today I am going to introduce  you to some writers I know.  They are from my writing groups and from the classes I teach. They span a wide range of ages and life experiences, but what they have in common is a love of stringing words together to remember, to understand, to create, and to tell the stories only they can tell.  I have changed names and a few telling details, but each profile describes  a fellow writer whom I have the privilege to know.

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Sara is a grandmother who  began telling her granddaughter bedtime stories several years ago about a magical land of pixies, fairies, and dragons. The bedtime stories have become a fully realized fantasy world. Sara’s manuscript of her tales is taking shape as a  hero’s quest that promises many hours of delight for her future readers. Sara is a writer.

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Debra is a widow who lost her husband  way too soon. She began writing as a way back from her grief, filling pages with her memories and sorrow.  Now Debra is crafting a mystery story and is enjoying creating characters and scenes from her imagination. Debra is a writer.

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Brian is a middle-aged executive employed at  a technology firm. He writes humorous anecdotes which have been published on several occasions in a well-known magazine. He also writes memoir and fiction in a descriptive style that is comforting yet compelling.  Brian is a writer.

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Elaine is 30, and works in an emotionally demanding and draining profession. She writes lush,  powerful fiction and evocative memoirs and essays. Her writing is a way to both process and escape from her work. Elaine is a writer.

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Ben, 85,  crafts memoir of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s and 40s. Ben writes lovingly of his family, friends and favorite places from his childhood and youth. He also writes about his experiences as a photographer and designer.  He has crafted a powerful and moving eye-witness account of the events of September 11, 2001.  He is in the process of compiling his stories into a book. Ben is a writer.

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Victor is a retired scientist and professor. He writes memoir of growing up in a small North Carolina town during the Depression and World War II. Victor has a witty, understated writing style that delights those who hear his stories. Victor is also a poet who has published a small volume of his work. Victor is now working on a biography of a fellow scientist. Victor is a writer.

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Those are just a few of my fellow writers. To quote Brenda Ueland, “They are all talented, original, and have something important to say.”  They write in many styles and genres and each brings their own purposes to the writing table.  They write because they love it and because they can’t  not  write. The desire for self-expression and understanding, not fame and fortune, compels them to put pen to paper.

So who is a writer?  A writer is someone who writes.

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The Writing Life

The Writing Life: Taking the Dream to Fruition

I have been a writer for most of my life. “ A writer is someone who writes” after all, and I have been writing since age eight. However my dream for a long time has been  to make writing my full-time job, not just an amusing hobby. I think I have achieved my goal, but it looks rather different from what  I imagined.  And while I am a full-time writer, I am not yet a published author. Living the writing life is not just about creating the next bestseller.  It is about loving all the aspects of the work, no matter the outcome, because it allows you to tell a story that is yours alone.

Here’s what my writing life looks like at the moment.

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I am sitting in my studio composing this post with my laptop on my knees because there’s no room for it on my desk, the surface of which is covered with the detritus of a full weekend of writing. There are at least seven spiral notebooks in a sort of pile on the desk along with about ten others at my feet. They represent all of my rough drafts and half stories scribbled in writing sessions covering a couple of years. 

 Interspersed with the notebooks are crumpled, scribbled sticky notes, ragged pages torn from notepads, collapsed stacks of books and magazines and a number of abandoned cups of tea.  The trashcan has overflowed onto the floor and the bookshelf under my desk looks ravaged.

Since retiring from my first career as a teacher almost three years ago I have undertaken developing my “second act” as a writer. Here’s what that entailed over the last three days:

~Goal: Publish stories and articles to establish my credentials as a writer.

Publishing credits are an important piece of the puzzle as I work toward getting a book ready for publication. If I want to attract the notice of an agent or a publisher, I need to  have published work I can point to.

 I spent many hours this weekend rewriting, tweaking and polishing three personal essays for submission to two different online literary publications. The deadline for submission was today, so that took precedence over everything else.  The final drafts went out yesterday afternoon accompanied by my high hopes. The stories were ones I had written over the last year in various writing groups I belong to. As soon as I read the submission guidelines  I knew I had pieces that would fit. The problem was they were located in my vast collection of notebooks- somewhere. I pulled them all out and began to flip through until I found the pieces I wanted.

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 Once I found a story,  I began to work on it, and work on it and work on it. Hours later a story of less than 1,000 words was ready to go. I repeated this same pattern two more times, fueled by gallons Earl Grey tea, Kind bars, and peanut butter on rice cakes. I went through countless drafts of each story before pronouncing it ready to send. Then there was the learning curve in getting my work formatted to the specifications for each publication. That was several more hours filled with frustration and grumbling.  Still, it was valuable learning time since I have new skills I can use in the future.

Goal: Teach writing classes in order to help other writers pursue their dreams and to be part of a group of like-minded people.

Today I spent the entire day planning for my Fiction writing class that I teach each Tuesday. Tomorrow’s lesson is on Setting and Description.  I spent several hours on the internet scouring posts for ideas and making notes on sticky pads and scraps of paper.  Plus I consulted my vast writer’s library, pulling books from my shelves and making more notes. I wanted to be sure I have a complete and thorough lesson for my students. They are all talented writers with goals of their own.  Teaching writing classes to adults has been a goal of mine for many years. It is one of the highlights of my week. It offers me an opportunity to be around my “tribe”, those folks who love stories so much they want to create their own.

Next I completed my homework assignment for tomorrow’s writing class. I assign a writing prompt for homework each week . For the first activity in class we all share our writing based on the prompt. I needed to have my writing done for that as well in order to model what I am teaching.

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Goal: Create a blog about writing to encourage others to write.

Having to write for my blog also helps me create new content on a regular basis as well as meeting my goal to produce at least 500 words a day. Blogging is helping me hone my writing skills as well as putting me in touch with others who love stories.

 

Goal: Learn more about blogging, publishing and targeting my audience.

Right now I am working through 3 online classes that are helping me develop skills as a blogger, writer and entrepreneur. In order to be successful as a writer in the 21st century I need to learn as much as I can about creating and growing  my website, marketing, electronic publishing and so on. I spend time each week listening to podcasts and modules to help me acquire those skills that do not come so naturally to me. This has been a steep learning curve for me, but I am gradually gaining valuable skills and confidence.

Goal: Publish my novel. And then another. Repeat. 

This of course is my ultimate goal. Each week I am spending time rewriting and editing my book. I am also working on the first draft of another book as well as several other story ideas. I have no shortage of projects I wish to pursue. I just need more hours in my day.

sunset-hand-garden-book

For now, I am going to tidy my desk and call it a day.

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