Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Writing Words

I don’t know if I could specify an exact period in my life when I began writing. When I look back, I was always writing something, always making up stories or journaling my days. After all, what pre-teen/teenage girl doesn’t have her secret diary where she recounts all the absolutely horrible-awesome-unbelievable-heartbreaking things that happen to her every single day???

Growing up on a farm I can remember whiling away the hours while cutting acres of grass on a little riding mower, and the whole time I would be telling myself stories – out loud of course because the mower was typically loud enough one could barely hear themself think, and it wasn’t as if there was anyone around for miles to hear me talking to myself. Sometimes, if I liked the story I came up with while mowing, I would later pull out a notebook and write it out. I still have some of those notebook-ed mowing stories in my keepsake boxes. Some are truly cringe worthy but even the most horrible of them illustrates the potential for storytelling that lived within me, even then.


But it was really when my eldest son was a baby that I thought to myself, “I’ve got all these ideas and stories just percolating in my head, why don’t I try to get them out?” At that point I was already a voracious reader, frequent book reviewer on my original blog, and had also been writing fanfiction for a couple years, so the idea of writing my own original stories was, to say the least, enticing.

So, I started typing.

Carving out time, when and where I could, to write. To allow the adventures, the dreams, the characters – the stories – out of my head. When I couldn’t sit down at the computer, or escape for a bit with my laptop, I got into the habit of packing around a notebook and pen. It wasn’t uncommon in those days to find me scribbling notes (ideas, a turn of phrase, inspired dialogue) while sitting at skating lessons or while the kids played in the McD’s play place.

There were so many ideas that rushed forward in those early years. I’ve got files and files, and files, and I’m frequently adding more as new ideas crop up. There are dozens of ideas that I’ve never gotten around to even attempting to flesh out and really develop. Then there are the ones that I did focus on. The ones I took time to see where they might lead, see what kind of story it was that was waiting to be told.

And from those, there are a handful that I’ve truly delved into and narrowed my sight on. Those stories have weeks and months, and more, of time invested in them. Time spent researching locations, myths and legends, educational course paths for various (and sundry) careers, and a wide variety of legalities aimed at specific situations. Time spent doing character development and profiles, family trees, detailed timelines, and even drawing out the floor plans for homes featured within those stories.

Then the writing.


God, the time spent writing. Hours upon days, upon weeks and months, and years. All that time getting words onto screen and paper. Time spent on revisions and rewrites.

All those words.

Because words are what make the story. You start with an idea – the heart and soul – and with words you build everything else: the bones and framework of the plot, the muscle and tissue that give it weight, and most of all, the blood and breath that gives it life. Without the words there is simply an amorphous thought waiting.

I spent the past weekend going through my writing files because I had finally decided which one of my stories to focus on this year and to finally, actually, finish. This was one of my writing goals for 2019 that I talked about in my post last month. The result of that perusal being that this week my heart hurts (more than) a bit and I’m unusually obsessed with those words. Because you see, just more than a third of the existing files for that story were damaged-corrupted-unreadable-inaccessible. The originals and the backups. One third of the chapters I’d already written – just gone. At the very least fifteen thousand words lost.

I cried, quite literally and dramatically, when I’d finished tallying things up and realized just how much was gone.


It’s not even that I can’t rewrite those missing chapters. I can and will – if the geek squad pro’s that I haul my computer and flash drives to can’t recover them. It’s the fact that while some of those chapters are just the ‘bones and muscle’ of the story, a few of them are ‘blood and breath’ parts. While I may not be able to remember every word I wrote in those chapters, I remember very clearly how I felt when I wrote them. And there’s this part of me that is terrified that if/when I rewrite those sections, I won’t be able to pull off the same level of intensity, same depth of emotion. Quite simply – I’m afraid it won’t be as good this time around.

If rewriting those chapters from scratch becomes necessary, I’ll do it. I’ll do it to the very best of my ability… but man, right now the fear of that prospect is sitting right up there with the hurt of having lost the chapters in the first place.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

New Year, New Goals and a Brand New Logo

NaNo2018 was an epic failure on my part. Sort of, not really, but yes a failure. I did write more in November 2018 than I did in the rest of 2018 put together - so win! - but still, I fell ridiculously short of meeting the 50k goal. 

So what happens now? 

It's a New Year -- 2019!!! -- and after a lot of thought, and I mean a LOT, I'm going to change things up a little bit. I'm going to goal set differently, more specifically but perhaps also in a way that won't constantly make me feel like I'm falling behind and failing. Here's where I start...

Goal #1 -- Write Every Single Day (on a WIP)

I know, God do I know, that not every day is going to be a good writing day. One day I may get in 2500 words. Another day I may add 5. And that's okay so long as I write. Eventually I'll finish what I've started and I'll have what I need to take the next step. 

Goal #2 -- Write a Blog Post Each Month 

Sort of like an accountability check-in. I've seen other writers do this - both the indies just getting into the industry, as well as well established traditionally published authors that I've read/loved/followed for years. But more than simply holding myself accountable to my craft, I've missed writing blog posts, missed this avenue of interaction with other bloggers and writers. Now, January didn't get a blog post but you'll see a little bit further down what I was busy with last month. Going forward though I'm going to write (at least) one blog post here each month - and at least one blog post for each of my other blogs too.

Goal #3 -- Finish Something 

Here's the thing: right now I have 4 projects on the go. One of them is and always has been intended as a stand alone novel/novella. Two of them could be the launch points for a series or other multi book/story set, I can see other possible storylines that could come from them, or they could just end up as stand alone novels too. The fourth project is absolutely the beginning of a series - I know pretty much everything that will happen in the first three books/stories, how much further the series goes after that is still up in the air. 

So the goal is to evaluate them, pick one, focus on that and FINISH it. 

But which, which, which one will it be? 

Goal #4 -- Set Periodic, Quantifiable Deadlines  

This is one that could be tricky. Or it could be super easy. These would be goals like: finish one chapter this week, or write 5000 words by the end of the month. Which, like I said could be simple or could be hard. I hope that over the course of time, having those quantifiable deadlines will increase my productivity. 

I'm also hoping that with time those quantifiable goals will become more lofty - 10k words in a month, then 5k words per week, etc, etc, etc. Eventually, assuming this works the way I want, I'd be able to set goals more along the line of This Novel done by March and That Novel written by August; you know deadline deadlines. 

(I'd cross my fingers in hope but that may make it more difficult for me to type. Cross 'em for me??) 

Goal #5 -- Become a Better Writer

One step to attaining this goal, one that will help tremendously all on its own is simply to write. To write and keep writing, and then write some more. Another part of this will be to read, of course; I've always felt that to be a good writer and to continually better yourself, you must read. (In general, the reading thing has never been a real problem for me. 😉 ) A third thing I'm going to try to do is find some online writing courses - creative writing, or novel writing, or maybe even an editing course. I've actually discovered a few through my local library that look promising, so I've got somewhere to start. 

I'm sure there's more that I can do and if, and when, I discover those things I'll let you know. 

Now remember earlier in this post when I alluded to what I'd been busy doing this past January? Number one on that list was to completely redesign and launch a new website for my mother's massage therapy business - at which I'm more or less in charge of all marketing and advertising these days. The redesign is done, the site is launched and now, except for weekly/month maintenance to keep the site dynamic and up-to-date, I'm able to direct my creative energies elsewhere. 

Number 2 on the list of things I did last month came about in the middle of doing the website redesign. And it was the development of new logos for each of my blogs, and another logo which incorporates aspects of the other three to use as a social media profile photo. The logo for Inside My Mind is simple, clean, and while it may not be my forever logo, for now I really love it. 

What do you think? 

Interested in seeing the other logos? Pop over to my Facebook Page where three of the four have now been launched! The fourth will be coming in the next little bit.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Life. You Know?

I am so tired of adulting. 

You know what I’m talking about: all the responsibilities, obligations and time commitments that go along with being a “grown up” are draining. Add 4 kids to the mix and the adulting requirements increase exponentially. It’s exhausting at the best of time you guys. 

Right now, it’s damn near killing me.

Last week my husband and MIL loaded up my van with a bunch of cardboard, paper and other recycling and then climbed in to go do those chores and an array of other errands. They drove out of our driveway and were immediately hit by someone who was speeding down the road and had just run/raced the red light two houses away. Right in front of our house. I’d said “see ya later” as they walked out the door and a couple minutes later I hear a massive boom, walk to the front of the house, look out the window, and what do you know? There’s my van (and the other persons car) smashed and in pieces right in front of my house. 

Everyone seems to be just fine I think - they’ve got stiff and sore necks/backs, and my MIL has some seatbelt bruising (her side of the van was impacted) - but other than that ok. 

But -

MY van... The only vehicle we have that accommodates our family of 6. The one I’ve driven every single day (or nearly) for the past 10 1/2 years. The vehicle I was going to need just hours later to take a kid to one of their activities, and then later to take another kid to theirs. 

Since that moment I’ve spent hours on the phone dealing with insurance, and getting a rental, and a host of other things. I spent one afternoon shopping to replace the car seat that was relegated useless after being through a collision. I’ve spent countless hours researching the value of my beloved van and looking for replacements. And now I know I’ll have to spend even more time doing that as my van has been deemed un-fixable and I HAVE to replace it. 


All this on top of the normal multitudinous daily tasks and responsibilities I take care of every day. 

I’m tired of adulting. And I’m so physically and mentally exhausted that I’ve had no drive to write anything all week. I added maybe 50 words to my NaNo story before I heard the big boom. It sucks and I know that there is no way in hell I’ll come close to 50k words this month. But on the plus side - everyone is okay and I’m getting an unexpected vehicle upgrade. 

How is your writing going though?? Are you on target to “win” NaNo this year?