Ah the writer’s most treasured item. The side quest, the rabbit hole of research, or any task or reason to keep us “busy” so we don’t have to write. I am trying to get back on my blogging schedule; where I set up two weeks worth of posts and then any extra posts fit them. It has been a long time since I have managed to keep that schedule.
Nov. 1st marks the kick off to a 30 day race to write 50k words in your very own novel. Several hundred thousands, if not a couple millon folks are coming along with you for this journey. 50k words seems like a whole lot and they are, until you realize most of your favorite books are more than 50k.
However, when you break those 50k words up over 30 days. You wind up with a more manageable 1,750. I rounded cause 1,667 is not a nice round number. And if you do write 1,750 a day for 30 days you will have written 52,500 words. There by winning NaNoWriMo and holding in your hot little hand the beginnings of your novel.
A lot of “serious” writers don’t look fondly on NaNo, due to the highly unorthodox method. Writing so fast so you can out write your inner editor and inner critic and just get the story down. Naturally a first draft of anything isn’t very pretty. Ernest Hemingway, himself said that. And if he thought his first drafts stunk…
There are a few brave souls that will publish or have their project printed just to have a physical book they wrote. Some folks will go on and edit, rewrite, and polish that rough hunk of coal until they get their diamond. Some folks will say, “whew that was fun.” And never think anymore about it. Those are all perfectly fine methods, your words, your rules.
The main goal of NaNo is to give yourself permission to write crappy. The deadline is to keep you moving instead of getting hung up on editing and polishing. That comes after you have finished writing your first draft. Think of the first draft as a frame work. The editing and rewriting is fleshing out the frame.
I wish you all the best luck on this journey of writing and discovering the stories you have within yourself. Cheers, james
This page is from the collected notebooks of Mark Twain. My focus is the part of Mr. Bixby advising young Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain to get and keep a notebook. Notebooks are my theme this week and perhaps for next week. We shall see.
Trying to realize and learn this again. You learn so much more from your mistakes than your successes. Mistakes encourage you to try harder, except when it doesn’t and you think about walking away. So many times I have tried walking away, yet I always come back. I’ll see you on Saturday.
I have been absent of late from my blog and truthfully from myself as well. It seems the whole drama of a world pandemic completely drained every spark of motivation that I could grab. Even though I haven’t been posting, I have thought about you and worried that you were doing alright.
I have been spending time knitting. I call it knitting a worry rag (dishcloth) that I can fret and work out my thoughts and not worry about infecting ill wishes on a piece of clothing. Similar to a prayer shawl/scarf/blanket just without the nice happy feelings. But the dishcloth is perfect, it is used, wrung out, scrubbed with etc. So less of a trasnference issue in my mind.
Last week I purchased a copy of Julia Cammeron’s The Artist’s Way. It is a 12 week creativity through spiritualism course designed to help you tap into inner creative spirit. Each week focuses on specific tasks and processes. Her main tools are the Morning Pages and the Artist Date. Morning Pages are 3 stream of consciousness pages written first thing in the morning. And I’m not much on mornings. The Artist Date is making time in your week to spend time with yourself doing/being creative. In order to inspire your creativity, you must have creativity to draw from. That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. An example would be making and playing with play dough. Allowing yourself time to experience a safe haven to become your inner child. Or a walk on the beach, road trip to a new area, new music or whatever.
So far I have done one set of Morning Pages, this morning. Although I confess it seems that writing three pages at night would be more beneficial than first thing in the morning. And for curiosity’s sake I may try both a morning set and an evening set. We’ll see.
I have been reading the Forward and the prechapters. And tonight I am starting Week 1. So wish me luck.
I just haven’t felt like myself in months and I am hoping this will give me a path back to myself and my writing. I will start posting Quote of the Day and hopefully a weekly post on how I’m doing with the Artist’s Way. See you on Thursday.
The image above leads me to a story. There is a point I promise. So let us wander into the fog of yesterday’s memories.
We see a man in a round ring with a little girl about 8 or 9 outside the fence watching intently. Sweat darkens the horse’s sorral (red) coat almost black. The steady sound of hooves thump the ground. The easy manner of the man holding the rope tied to the horse’s halter. He watches both horse and child.
“Come here.” He beckons the child. He stands her in front of him and gives her the rope. He guides her fingers into a loose but firm grip. Silently he steps back watching them work together. She is focused on the horse and keeping her grip on the rope. She doesn’t realize he has backed up and she alone is controling an animal easily 5 times her size.
“Alright turn her and go counter clockwise.” She turns to him and looses focus. The horse sensing the lack stops and turns towards the fence. “Now what are you going to do?”
She looks at him and the horse. The rope is limp and long in her tiny hands. She tries to pull the horse’s head to her. The mare fights the rope. She closes the distance between her and the horse. A knowing eye stays focused on the back feet and the ears.
Both are relaxed, although the horse is resting on three feet. The other back foot is tipped up, the girl knows that would be the kicking foot. She mumbles to the mare. Finally at the horse’s head, she tries to pull the mare away from the fence.
“Come on Miley. Just a lil longer. Please” she whispers to the horse.
A great brown eye studies her young handler. She noses the girl and allows herself to be led back the middle of the ring. She patiently awaits the comands the rope and man will give her. A blade of grass catches her fancy and she leans down for a snack.
Okay so now what have we learned? Other than I was an avivd horse lover back in the day. And lunging was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn.
According to my dad, lunging is how to get the junk out of the horse. His definition of junk was getting the horse past the “I don’t wanna work” mentality to the “It’s work time” mentality. And if you know anything about horses is they are all about the “don’t wanna” rather than the “let’s do this”.
As writers, we need a lunging/getting the junk out period. It focuses our inner brain and gets us ready to work. For the last several months I was bogged down trying to write. But I couldn’t focus beyond a few words. Fed up I opened up a new document and titled it “Junk Writing” and I spent an hour or so writing. Getting out the worries, fears, agravations of life, writing and doing stupid people tricks for my dogs. After that hour, I felt so light, and focused.
I started working an outline for a story. In fact that outline is posted to this blog under the Broken Writer post. I still haven’t figured out what is wrong with it yet. Maybe one day. Anyway once I got my brain settled into the work time mentality the words came easy. Or as easy as they ever do.
So next time you find yourself staring off into space try a mental luunging period and see if it helps. We don’t have to be great to get started. We just have to get started to be great. Thank you Mr. Les Brown for my writing motto.