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20 January 2009

The Plot Thickens...

…Doesn’t it always? I started this adventure of writing a book in a month with wings on my feet and clear vision. I could see the end and it was fantastic! An entire book, pounded out in a mere 30 days. But, suddenly, there in my rose colored vision, was a speed bump. I wasn’t derailed, not completely, but I did get an upset and my momentum was thrown for a loop.

My first week was fantastic! I summarized and outlined and *whew!* was I tired. Satisfaction filled me almost as well as a grande caramel frappucino does after a hard day at work. I was ready. I was finally armed with a 56 + page summary and I just knew-KNEW- the second week (last week) was going to go just as smooth, just as swift.

Speed Bump.

I am a planner. I LOVE to make plans. Just ask my husband. I am notorious for saying, “I’m going to do this!” and he says, “That’s great!” and then three weeks later, “this” has turned into “that” and I’m completely lost and off track. Now there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind, especially if you’ve tried something that just doesn’t fit in with your master plan. But when you plan and don’t act on those plans, well, there’s the trouble.

My large summary was just that: a summary. I picked it up, I flipped through it. I hemmed and hawed and ooohed and ahhhed and I was barely able to eek out my projected goals. The book I’m working on has 5 parts, acts if you will, like in a play. My goal was to finish act 1 last week but I expected to finish much more because of the prior weeks intense fervor and dedication to the written word. I finished act 1 yesterday, three days off course.

But all is not lost! I am still on the train, just a bit behind first class. I started work on part two today, hoping to write three or four chapters and only getting to almost the end of one. And I’m ok with that. Really. I am. The important thing is that I’m writing. Isn’t that what we all hope for? A good day at the typewriter, at the desk? As long as we keep at it, as long as we’re able to pound out a few words a day, we’re taking a step in the right direction.

Do I still want a finished manuscript by next Friday? You betcha. Am I going to go on a pint of ice cream eating binge if I fall a bit short? No. Well…it depends on the flavor.

In all seriousness, my renewed goal is this: to keep plugging away, to write at least 5 days a week, and to continue on to that goal of finished book. I by no means think I’ll have a polished, edited and shining example of literary greatness to whisk away to Mr. Simon and Mr. Schuester, but I do intend to have a large chunk of it completed, if not the entire thing. And I may just eat a pint of ice cream anyway. Just because I can!

12 January 2009

Book in a Month

I discovered this fabulous little spiral bound volume while rummaging through Barnes and Noble just prior to the turn of the new year. It is entitled “Book in a Month” and it promises to deliver enough encouragement, enough tricks and tips to help you do just that: write a book in a month.

For any of you who have written a book, you understand my skepticism upon first crossing paths with this orange little volume. You can’t help but notice it. First of all, the color. Secondly, the title is incredulous. “Write a book in a month?” I thought, “Yeah, right.” But I picked it up. Got snagged on the hook. I fought a bit. But it won. It reeled me in.


Believe it or not, it is working. I am on my second week; to be more precise, day one of my second week and I have already written more in one week than I have ever written on a single book in a period of seven days. I am a well known procrastinator, and terrible at talking myself out of things (even things I desperately desire to do) so to be able to tell you I’ve written two more days than my goal of five and eleven hours over my intended goal of ten for all of last week is perhaps one of my finest accomplishments in a long, very long time. It even ranks above finishing the first book of this trilogy on which I am working. Of course, in light of what I’ve learned in this boot camp for the author, I must return to book one and edit it. All 574 pages of it. (If that shocks you, imagine how I feel!)

I won’t bore you with the details of what I’ve done or how I’ve kept on task. The book is designed for someone who is coming to their book with but a vague idea and, perhaps, for someone who has never written a book before. But it is user friendly and I have been able to alter it to my needs. I won’t try and talk you into going out and buying the book, although I do think any novelist would benefit from even just the wisdom contained in the first half.

No, I write about it to say this: you can do anything if you make a commitment to do it. It was terribly frightening for me to tell myself I was going to do this, I was going to write a book in a month, no ifs, ands, or buts. It was terrifying for me to tell my husband, my mother, a best friend what I was going to do because that makes me accountable to others. It means now I was going to let down people I care deeply about. True, saying you’re going to write a book in a month and not doing so is not going to alter the world, devastate the rain forest or claim the life of your first born. But just knowing that someone is out there rooting for you, cheering you on and then you tell them you didn’t cross the finish line, well, that’s a bit more than I can bear.

Whether you are working on a novel or just wanting to repaint a closet, try making a commitment. Write it out, contract-style, sign and date it, and stick it somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Repainting a closet can be quite important (if you’re selling the house, I suppose), but try this with something that means a lot to you. If you have ever thought about writing a short story, a journal, a poem, tell yourself that for one month, you are going to do just that. Even if it takes you more (or less) time to see it into ultimate completion, at least give yourself the benefit of a month to pour yourself into something you believe in, you desire. It’s only 30 days. If at the end of that time you hate it, don’t want to ever pick up a pen (or paint brush) again, then at least you can say “I tried”. But don’t give up before you ever start. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You just may surprise

04 January 2009

A New Year

Happy New Year and Welcome!

I've created this little bloggy to keep a handle on my writing, as well as communicate some of the things I'm working on, lesson's learned, and writing's discovered. I'm always reading, and I love to share what I've read with others who may be interested. Also, I'm beginning a wonderful, albeit, frightening task: writing a book in a month! I started two days ago and so far, so good. Of course, I go back to work on Monday and a New Year full of resolutions gets into full swing, so the challenge may escalate. No matter. Posting my progress will be a good way to keep me on task and keep me accountable.

I hope to post at least once a week, with updates on my work as well as some bits and pieces of writing wit and wisdom I discover along the way.

I do hope you enjoy my blog and please feel free to pass me along to any writing friends you may have. We writers need to stick together; heaven knows we have been chosen for a rather lonely profession!

Take care and I pray your new year is full of adventure, optimism, joy and possibilities!

Dream on,
Jen