Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I'm a writer.
I keep telling myself that.
I'm a mother. I'm a financial analyst. I'm a green belt in American Kenpo Karate. These things are easy to say.
I'm a mother -- I've got kids. That one's easy. I hope I'm a good mother, which is somewhat more difficult.
I'm a finanical analyst -- well, I get paid to do it. My job title with HR says "Financial Analyst III". That one's also easy to prove.
I'm a green belt -- I've got the belt. I've got the trophies, and if anyone doubts me, I'd be happy to step into the ring with them and prove my skills there.
But saying "I'm a writer" sometimes doesn't feel right.
I started writing when I was 9. I wrote a book, illustrated by my best friend, about an elf named Snickerdoodle who lived in a mushroom and had adventures.
I wrote all through high school. I was a founding member of the Creative Writing Club at my school, and twenty-some years later, it's still around.
I had a bad critique experience in college, and more or less gave up on the idea of ever writing a book. For many years, I focused on essays and opinion pieces, occasionally submitting them to contests or newsletters.
I've been published in short fiction and essays in small publications. I got a story in "Dragon Magazine" once. But I've never even completed a book.
Seven years ago, I went to my first writer's convention and joined the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I had an idea for an epic fantasy novel that I couldn't get off the ground. I tinkered with it until last year. At the 2009 convention, I spend all my time with people like Mario Acevedo ("Nymphos of Rocky Flats" and others), Jean Stein (The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles) and other writers of urban fantasy. I'm a HUGE Joss Whedon fan, and practially have every episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" memorized. I also had recently devoured every book of The Dresden Files - twice.
While I was talking about the convention with my best friend she said "So, if you read all this urban fantasy, and you spent all this time with urban fantasy writers, why aren't you writing an urban fantasy?"
And I looked at her with my mouth gaping and eyes blinking stupidly for a few moments and said "Uhh... I don't know. Maybe I should."
So, I went home and started digging through my old stories. I found the origin story I had written for my City of Heroes character several years before, and decided to give it a try.
She was called DeadlyNightshade in the game. I've changed her to The Nightshade, altered some aspects, and I'm well on my way with this one. It's really flowing, and I'll have the whole book finished in time to enter in the annual RMFW contest in April.
So, I'm a writer. I write. Without even a completed book to my credit, it's much harder to support than the other things. However, I keep saying it. I say it to my family when I'm heading off to the basement to write. I tell other people sometimes.
Mostly, I say it to myself when I'm faced with a blank page. I tell myself there is no blank page I cannot fill. It may not be Pulitzer-winning stuff, but who cares. It's on the page, and that's farther than most people will get.
Tomorrow -- what am I going to do for NaNoWriMo?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I'm sure many of you have heard of National Novel Writing Month.
During the month of November, thousands of writers set out to complete the marathon of novel writing. A full 50,000 word novella completed in 30 days or less.
I've been on board for a few years, but I've never even gotten past the first hurdle. Since I work in finance, the 1st, and usually the 2nd of each month is insane for me. I always tell myself, I'm going to start on November 3, but that gets put off. Then, Liam has his birthday, and Thanksgiving comes along...
I think my record to date is about 5 pages.
I was going to skip NaNoWriMo this year to work on my main project. I've got a schedule worked out that gets me completed Feb 28, and it doesn't leave time to take November off.
But, I have this secondary project that's burning a hole in my brain and I feel like I've got to get it on paper.
I'm going to cut back on the martial arts for the month of November and try to crank out a 1st draft of my new book, while still keeping to my schedule for the main novel. I won't be teaching for the month, and I'll be skipping sparring class on Friday nights.
The main novel is scheduled to get 4-5 pages every Thurs-Sun in November. Normally, I take Mondays off from writing, and spend some time on Tuesday and Wednesday fixing up the stuff I wrote over the weekend.
For the month of November, I'm going to forego any editing work. I write, I move on - and for this month, that applies to both the NaNoWriMo book, and my main project.
Now, this means I've scheduled over 65000 words of prose writing in the month of November. Let's assume I take Thanksgiving, my son's birthday, and the 1-2 off. That leaves me writing over 2500 words per day - on two projects.
Can I do it?
I don't know. But it's worth a try.
If I disappear from the Spark boards and my blog for a month - you'll know why.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Plan -- If I PLAN ahead, I can be successful. If I leave it to chance and the spur of the moment, I seldom make the best choices.
I PLAN my family's menu for the week on Sunday afternoon. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner gets written down.
I PLAN my daily food, and prepare whatever I can ahead of time. I pack lunch and snacks for me and my husband before I leave in the morning. I track my food on Spark first thing in the morning, and stick to that list through the day.
If I'm going out for a meal, I get the menu to PLAN ahead and choose something healthy.
I PLAN my exercise daily, before I'm too tired to start moving.
I PLAN any indulgences ahead of time, and set my limits.
I put my plan into PRACTICE.
Once I've written down my food for the week, I go to the store and buy only what is on the list. I PRACTICE self-control when faced with choices that are not on my list.
I eat only what I've packed, or planned to order for the day. If I'm going out, I PRACTICE ordering ahead of time so I don't slip into old habits
I PRACTICE self-discipline by doing the exercise I have written down each day.
I PRACTICE healthy habits by modeling them for my children.
I PRACTICE telling myself that I am happy with the choices I am making and that any sacrifices are worth it for the end results.
I measure my PROGRESS.
I don't expect perfection, but I do expect that I can make better and better choices as time goes on.
I admit my mistakes, and confont them instead of hiding them.
I celebrate my PROGRESS in meeting my goals - I don't dwell on my setbacks.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I found an old high school writing exercise the other day -- "Things to do before I'm 40."
Some of the items on my list:
* Visit the Egyptian pyramids
* Publish a novel
* Be a millionare
* Live on the beach
* Get my doctorate
* Work for NASA, JPL or Martin Marietta
* Learn a third language (At the time I was already partially fluent in German)
* Become a US Senator
* Marry the perfect man and have 2 kids
* Have a good-looking male assistant to answer my phones and do administrative work
When I was 16, I had this view of what my life would be when I was 40, and my my best years would be behind me.
Well, yesterday I turned 40. I have managed to do two of the things on my list.
Granted, over the years, the list has changed. I didn't become a Senator, partially because I don't WANT to. I don't care about living on the beach so much. I like Colorado where there is no beach. My assistant is neither male nor particularly attractive, but she's efiicient, and I like her a lot. The part about being a rocket scientist kind of dissolved when I went the finance route instead of staying with math and physics.
Still, I've got a husband better than I deserve, and my kids are cool enough to make my sworn childless brother-in-law decide to try for kids of his own. I did manage to learn enough French that I can get along in a conversation - and bonus, I finally got a job where that matters. All you people who told me I should learn Spanish instead because I'd never use my German and French living in Colodao - HA! In your face!
Anyway, I digress...
Two things done. Some dreams relegated to mere ideas, but many of those items are still on my list, and the list has grown. Now I want to get my black belt in karate too. I want to travel to Japan and visit our exchange students in their homes.
Here I am, finally 40, and all those check marks still un-checked.
Lots to do before I'm 50, I guess.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I can't have it all. It's just not possible.
I've got to give up on something.
But how? My dreams, my desires - they're IMPORTANT to me.
I WANT my black belt.
I WANT to finish my novel.
I WANT to be a good wife.
I WANT to be a good parent who is there for my kids.
I WANT to lose another 40 lbs.
I WANT my house to be acceptably clean and maintained.
Monday nights - karate starts at 6:00, but the instructor wants me there at 4:30 to help teach the kids as part of my brown belt training.
Tuesday nights - my husband has Tae Kwon Do and Kumdo from 6:30-9:00. so he's not even home until the kids are in bed.
Wednesday nights - karate again
Thursday nights - TKD/Kumdo and I have to be at Cub Scouts with #2 son
Friday nights - karate sparring class from 6:30-8:30. Once, this was optional, but it's now requried for brown belt level.
Weekends - there's always something. #1 son has marching band every Saturday. #2 son has cub scout things. There are writing workshops and karate tournaments and film festivals.
PLUS - now #1 son wants piano lessons and #2 son wants to join gymnastics AND take guitar lessons.
Oh! And there's my JOB - you know the thing that pays the bills. That has to be done, too.
My housework has already fallen far by the wayside.
I languished in my last belt level in karate for far longer than I should have because I didn't get my practice in.
My book. Ugh! I fiddle and fiddle with it an get nowhere.
I keep thinking that if I could just organize things better, it would all fit. But something always gets lost.
I can't choose what to give up on, so nothing gets the attention it deserves.
If I could afford a housekeeping service, that would be something, at least. But we're not in a financial position to do that just yet.
I just don't know.
Get An Email Alert Each Time MYREALANA Posts